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Identity & Community

Conservation Nonprofit’s Purchase Of Garfield Community Garden Ensures Its Protection For Agricultural Use

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Katie Blackley
/
90.5 WESA

Garfield's Kincaid Street Garden has been purchased by the Three Rivers Agricultural Land Initiative (TRALI) from private developers East Liberty Development, Inc. and Penn Pioneer Enterprises. The move means the urban green space will be preserved permanently for agricultural use.

TRALI, formed in 2017, is a joint venture between Grow Pittsburgh and the Allegheny Land Trust.

"We're investing in protecting community gardens that apply throughout the city," Allegheny Land Trust Community Conservation director Alyson Fearon said of TRALI. "This is our second community garden and third project under the program."

The community garden was purchased as two parcels appraised at $18,000 each. One was donated to the Allegheny Land Trust and the other was bought at a discount.

Established in 2012, the Kincaid Street Garden houses vegetables, flowers and perennial herbs. Garden volunteer Kuwame Kinsel says TRALI's purchase will keep the land protected.

"We have solidified that our space is going to be viable and continuous for the community. We can't get bought out by a developer, we can't get changed, you know, so it was an amazing feeling."

Kinsel also says the purchase will allow the garden to make more long-term investments. They plan to add fruit trees, picnic tables, art, solar panels, a stage, and access to the city's water system through PWSA's Water for Community Gardens Program.

Local residents care for communally-shared garden plots or start plots of their own at Kincaid Street. It also has resources to address food insecurity: The food grown in the shared plots is open to everyone, and there is an on-site food pantry with canned goods.

Garden volunteers want it to resemble itself in its early days, when it was much more active. They are planning on introducing more community events, including gardening, composting, cooking and plant identification classes. They believe TRALI's purchase will facilitate this.

Kinsel wants the Kincaid Street Garden to be a fixture of the community.

"Community gardens play a role in creating accessibility to green space and outdoor space for people who don't typically have access to these spaces and places," he said.