New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'
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Sandra Robertson is one of eight Dorothy Richardson award winners

She joined her parents in the garden at the age of 3; they had fresh produce for meals and “handed some over the fence to the neighbors. There is nothing like a fresh tomato that doesn’t taste like cardboard,”

NeighborWorks America


Robertson joined Summer Sprouts, an Ohio State University extension program to support the county’s 250 community gardens and help residents start new ones. In return, she received free seeds and starter plants; other supplies, such as wood for raised beds, was donated from construction sites. “I like to experiment,” says Robertsen. “Some people tell me I can’t do certain things, but I go my own way and it usually works out.”

It certainly has with Ashbury Sprouts. What started out as a venture of Robertson’s, members of the local block club and a few friends now has about 11 regular adult volunteers and 13 youth who grow vegetables such as beans, kale, collard greens and tomatoes.

A little black girl wearing a pink and yellow dressThe garden has become a “teaching moment” for local children. A favorite of the kids is growing Yukon Gold potatoes in a trash barrel. As the plants grow, Robertson adds more soil. When it’s harvest time, she’ll tip the barrel over and pull out the potatoes.

“I like showing kids how much fun it is,” she says. One teen, she recalls, was awe-struck when he yanked a carrot out of the ground; he’d never seen that before. “Most people today have no real idea where their food comes from.”

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