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Common Ground program receives $10,000 LiveWell Community Wellness Grant

Monday, November 28, 2022 - 4:12pm

The Douglas County Sustainability Office recently received a 2022 LiveWell Community Wellness Grant for the Common Ground 10th Anniversary Enhancement Project in the amount of $10,000.

The grant is funded by Douglas County Community Foundation in partnership with the Kansas Health Foundation.

The Common Ground program is a community gardening and urban agriculture program created by the City of Lawrence in 2012. The Common Ground program’s goal is to transform vacant or under-utilized properties into vibrant sites of healthy food production for residents. There are currently 11 sites supporting 12 farmers, at least 230 gardeners and hundreds of others that benefit from food donations and opportunities for physical activity. While the City of Lawrence and Douglas County provide in-kind and staff support, the gardens have largely sustained their operations through fees.

A majority of the community gardens - seven out of 11 - were established at the inception of the program in 2012 and have experienced considerable natural wear and tear over the last decade. While they are able to afford small-scale improvements through the garden fees, there are some repairs and maintenance needs that are beyond the scope of their budgets.

The Douglas County Sustainability Office staff interviewed participants to identify infrastructure needs to ensure long-term sustainability of the program for another 10 years and beyond. Based on the feedback, the staff has prioritized the following projects across multiple sites: repairs to garden beds, hydrant replacement, weed management, shed and sign installation, and purchase of plants, fruit trees and garden tools. In addition, a new site at Broken Arrow Park is in need of an ADA-accessible sidewalk. The LiveWell funds will allow the program to make these improvements.

“We are extremely grateful to the Douglas County Community Foundation for awarding this grant to us,” Common Ground Program Manager Umut Bayramoglu said. “These funds will help us increase the equity standards of the entire Common Ground program, putting all of the sites at a level playing field. Not to mention, it will allow our program participants to focus on growing more food and spend less time on seeking donations for basic maintenance and repairs.”

The Common Ground 10th Anniversary Enhancement projects will begin this winter, as weather permits. The majority of the repairs and improvement projects will be slated for spring and summer of 2023 with a deadline of September 2023 for completion.

Media Contact

Karrey Britt, Communications Specialist