For current Community Gardening events in Lexington, click any of the images below



SCN News and Views January 2009

Community friends, 

We wish all our dear friends a Happy New Year ….

and best Wishes for continued good health and purposeful  work towards creating sustainable communities!!


Community Food Systems issue

In this issue:

1.       Bluegrass Partnership for a Green Community

2.       BPGC Food and Sustainability Team

3.       Bluegrass Urban Garden Society(BUGS)

4.        Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group

5.       Community Farm Alliance's 24th Annual Meeting

6.       Lexington Community Food System conference

7.       Terra Madre/Slow Food

8.       First Thursday sustainable food gathering

9.       Lexington community food assessment

10.      Bits and pieces

11.      American Community Garden Association……..

12.      Community Gardens in Parks and Recreation Departments

13.      Growing Food and Justice

14. Will Allen, founder of Growing Power, 2008 MacArthur Fellow  in Lexington April 13-14

15.     Breaking the Silence conference

           16.     Speaking engagements


1.Bluegrass Partnership for a Green Community(BGPGC)

 The Bluegrass Partnership for a Green Community was formed in 2005 by LFUCG, UK and  Fayette County Public Schools  as an initiative aimed at stimulating greater regional commitment to environmental issues by government, schools, businesses, private citizens and young people. This exciting partnership provides Lexington with a unique opportunity to conserve our resources, protect the environment, and minimize waste and pollution.  Since 2005 the partnership has welcomed new members and now includes many organizations/individuals that work in ten project teams: 1) Green Buildings,2) Reduce Reuse Recycle, 3) Green Purchasing, 4) Environmental Education,  5) Transportation, 6) Outreach & Communication, 7) Water & Stormwater, 8) Foods & Sustainability, 9) Green Space & Sustainability, 10) Green Equestrian Games. All citizens and community organizations are encouraged to join a project team and help create a strong, united front to sustain and improve the quality of life for all Bluegrass residents.  Call Carol Hanley at (859)257-3780 to join a team or for more information visit the website at:


2.     BGPGC Food and Sustainability Team

Next meeting Tuesday January 27 10am-12 noon (Feb  24, March 24)…all are welcome!

The Foods & Sustainability project team during the May 2006 planning sessions adopted four  areas of focus:  1) Sustainable Land Use & Conservation Education, 2) Creating a Locally Grown Food System, 3) Community & School Gardens,  4) School-Based Activities That Connect Students to Food & Place. 

During 2008 the Food and Sustainability Team worked on these initiatives:

1) co-sponsored events: a) March 1- Green Schools Summit & Green Schools Community Forum;  b) July 10 -Community Garden Tour;  c)October16-18- Closing the Food Gap Conference;

2) Supported  community/school garden projects at these sites:  Winburn Community Action Council, Booker T Washington Elementary , Dunbar High School, London Ferrill, Nelson Ave, Southland Community-Hill n Dale Park, La Roca Methodist Church/Arlington School;

 3) gave presentations at: Bryan Station High School, Hadassah, Maxwell Presbyterian Church, Unitarian Church, Black Church Coalition, classes at UK, Transylvania, Georgetown College, BCTC,  Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership, Frankfort 4-H;

4) Participated  in Conferences at: Community Farm Alliance-Frankfort, Sustainable Agriculture Research Education(SARE)- Kansas City, Local Food Healthy Farms- Louisville, Governors Conference on Environment-Lexington, Terra Madre-Torino, Italy;

5) Media coverage-KET Connections w/Renee Shaw, WUKY radio,  ACE Weekly special issues-Green Schools, Community Gardens, Closing the Food Gap, Key Conversations  w/Patrice Muhammad,  Lexington Herald Leader, Southsider, Chevy Chaser, LaVoz, CKCPJ newsletter, WKYT-TV 27 Noon news,  WRFL;

6) wrote grants to: USDA Community Food Project, Lowes, Partners for Youth

7) completed community food assessments –UK sociology department… see below

8) served as community service site for students from ML King Academy, UK, B CTC and Transylvania, referrals from family court, Boy Scouts.

9) provided tours of community garden sites to Stu Silberman, Supt of FCPS; Javier Munez,director of Fair Trade  agricultural cooperative from Guatemala;  World Hunger Year staff members;  Phd  student from Germany; UK, Berea  and BCTC students. 

New  initiatives in 2009 will include: 1) development of Food Policy Council, 2)Community Food System conference, April 17-18, 3) farm to school efforts , 4) conference attendance: Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group(SSAWG), SA RE, American Community Gardening Association,  5) develop Bluegrass Urban Garden Society(B UGS), 6) develop master plan for Lexington  community garden movememt.

The Foods & Sustainability project team… Next meeting Tuesday January 27 10am-12 noon,  112 North Upper St… meetings are held every fourth Tuesday at 10:00 AM. Everyone is welcome to attend these meetings and join one of these subcommittees: 1) bluegrass urban garden society(BUGS), 2) food policy council,  3) farm to school, 4) community food conference, 5) Community food assessments, 6) farm to faith,….. or create new subcommittees that match your passion! Developing a sustainable and just community food system is the foundation of a sustainable community.

3)    Bluegrass Urban Garden Society(BUGS)

Next meeting Saturday  January 10 10am-12 noon, Community Action Council, 1169 Winburn Drive  ...spread the word...everyone welcome. More info call..859-312-7024

BUGS is a subcommittee of the Food and Sustainability Team and  was formed in October 2008 at the Closing the Food Gap Conference.  BUGS aspires to 1) provide structure and  resources for greater coordination and collaboration among all the people, agencies, institutions that are involved with community\school gardening, 2) inspire, educate and promote community gardening as an essential part of a sustainable community Foods System.

BUGS initiatives  for 2009 include: community  gardening conference April 17- 18, develop seed and plant exchange programs, establish gardens in other city parks, support all garden initiatives, attend the  American Community  Gardening Association Conference Aug 6-9, organize the community garden tour, launch a citywide campaign “everyone grow a tomato plant”, develop salsa as a value added product at the Winburn Art Garden, serve  as host organization for a Berea  College intern, participate in the 4th of July parade, develop a logo….  And much more! 



4)     Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group(SSAWG)

Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms Conference

January 21-24, 2009
Chattanooga Convention Center
Chattanooga, TN

Southern SAWG's exceptional conference will provide you with the practical tools and solutions you need to be successful in your farming enterprise, your community foods projects and your advocacy and outreach work. It will provide sustainable production and direct marketing information for horticultural and livestock producers, enterprise management lessons, farm policy education, community food systems development information, plus the opportunity to meet and learn from peers from across the region. With 1,200 participants, this event draws the most forward-thinking people in the field. Come see why so many participate in this conference year after year!

Complete details at

Jim Embry, of Sustainable Communities Network will be presenting a workshop on Faith and Food  at this conference and is seeking information about the various programs initiated by the faith community in Kentucky to support local farmers, community gardens and other food related issues.  Please send information to him at

5)    CFA's 24th Annual Meeting
January 24, 2009, at the Capital Plaza Hotel in Frankfort

Community Farm Alliance is a grassroots membership organization with over 2,000 members in 75 Kentucky counties. From creating new Farmers' Markets in underserved urban communities, to developing Farm-to-Cafeteria programs that link local farmers with institutional buyers, to promoting family farm-friendly policies in the halls of the State Capitol, CFA provides a grassroots voice for Kentucky's citizens-farmer and non-farmer, urban and rural alike-on farm, food, and economic issues.


6)    Growing our Community Food System ..from the Ground Up

Growing our Community Food System ..from the Ground Up, a regional  conference, will be held April, 17 – 18 in Lexington, KY. The Friday workshops will address general topics about creating a more sustainable community foods system such as  food assessments, farm to table, CSAs, food and hunger.  The Saturday workshops will focus primarily on providing practical tools and resources for creating community gardening.  Call for workshop presenters…  Interested in presenting a workshop?  We encourage interested persons to submit proposals for workshops at this 2-day conference.  Sponsored by Bluegrass Partnership for a Green Community Food and Sustainability Team .Other organizations are encouraged to become a co-sponsor of this conference., 859-312-7024,

logo from Growing 

7)     Terra Madre/Slow food

About 20 delegates from Kentucky attended the fabulous Terra Madre gathering in Torino, Italy  October 23-38 2008.  With over  8000 delegates from 150 different countries and  800 from the USA, Terra Madre was  a grand experience and an inspiration for enhancing our work here in Kentucky.  The 20 delegates from Kentucky are available for speaking engagements about our experience at Terra Madre and the international movement for local foods systems.  Please contact us to arrange presentations in 2009 and we encourage other Kentuckians to plan on attending Terra Madre in 2010. ,,,


Sunday, January 25, Lexington, Main Library, 6-9 p.m.Bringing Terra Madre Home to the Bluegrass”.    Co-sponsored by Good Foods Co-Op, Lexington. Kentucky attendees of the Slow Food Terra Madre world food gathering will share their experiences in Italy, and discuss how we can apply the lessons learned to our communities.


8)    First Thursday Local Sustainable Food Gathering

What:  Local Sustainable Food Gathering and Potluck

Where: 112 West High Street (park beside the house)

When: Thursday, January 8th,  6:30pm - ?, every 1st Thursday in Feb, Mar, Apr etc

Details: As always, this will be an informal social time to enjoy each others company and take part in lively conversation with other like-minded folk (and hopefully meet new ones!). There are no specific agendas; just gathering and communing with great food. Please bring a dish to share, and other beverages you might enjoy beyond juice, soda, and water.  That Special Focus: BRING A FRIEND - let's help this movement GROW! For more information  contact Rebecca Self at:


9)    Lexington Community Food Assessment
The Lexington Community Food Assessment is on-going integrated research, teaching and outreach project, which aims to examine and address key challenges Lexington residents face in accessing nutritionally and culturally adequate food at affordable price.  The project was originated by Dr. Patrick Mooney  (Sociology) in his special topics course, SOC 350: Food Security in the Fall of 2004.  Since then, under the supervision of Dr. Keiko Tanaka (Community & Leadership Development/ Sociology) students from various levels have participated in the effort to collect data.  Moreover, this project has helped us build stronger collaborative relationships with various community organizations as project partners to update the project design and develop outreach tools.  We hope that the outcome from this project will play an important role in shaping future activities of the many community organizations working on issues of food security, sustainable agriculture, and local food economies in Lexington and/or the Bluegrass Region. For more information contact:Tanaka (田中敬子),UK Dept of Sociology


10)                       Bits and pieces

------Representatives from  B UGS will meet this week with Jerry Hancock, director of LFUCG Parks and Recreation about increasing the number of community  gardens in city parks like Castlewood, Coolavin..and more!

------Chrysalis House Community Center has asked for BUGS support in developing a community art  garden for the children.  WE NEED EVERYTHING: Tools, plants,  gloves, seeds, volunteers and donations…..  ALL contributions will  be greatly appreciated for this new garden project. 

-------the American Horticultural Therapeutic Association held its annual conference in Lexington Oct 30 - Nov 1, 2008 - AHTA's 36th Annual Conference:  Connecting People with Nature…,, , Chris Strecker attended and came away very inspired!

------The Bluegrass ADD District, Chrysalis House, family court judge Lucinda Masterton and the Ridge are all interested in the benefits of horticultural therapy.  Look for exciting developments in this area this year!

----Fayette County Public Schools has obtained about 40 acres of land on Leestown Rd for a new school….a horticultural/agronomy Center…stay tuned!!!

---our friend, Beverly Forturne, columnist for the Lexington Herald- Leader has begun a weekly column on community gardening.

---The London Ferrill community garden  will plant an orchard this year to harvest fresh fruit.

11)               American Community Garden Association

The ACGA Membership Conference brings together hundreds of individuals from across the United States, Canada, and abroad, who are engaged in all aspects of gardening and greening. The conference includes hands-on workshops, keynote speakers, a film festival, and visits to parks, school gardens, and community gardens. As a member of ACGA, you will receive notice of upcoming conferences via your newsletter, on the listserv, and by conference registration brochures.

12)               Community Gardens in Parks and Recreation Departments

February 2009 Teleconference - Wednesday, February 11-1:00 pm EST

Topic: Community Gardens in Parks and Recreation Departments

Hosted by Bill Maynard

Bill Maynard is the Vice President of ACGA, living in Sacramento, CA. Bill is the Community Garden Program Coordinator for the City of Sacramento Dept. of Parks and Recreation and founder of the Sacramento Area Community Garden Coalition. His work with school gardens earned him an appointment to the California State Board of Education School Garden Advisory Committeet

13)   Growing Food and Justice Community, Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative (GFJI) is an initiative aimed at dismantling racism and empowering low-income and communities of color through sustainable and local agriculture.

Our next large group Community Call is coming up this next Tuesday, January 13th at 11:30-12:45 Eastern Call Topic: How to get from cauliflower to racism: Creating dialogue around dismantling racism in our communities.  Please join  us as we build relationships and explore how to dismantle racism in our community projects. Your voice is important.,


14) Will Allen in Lexington

Will Allen will be in Lexington April 13-14 as part of UK Gaines Center lecture series an urban farmer who is transforming the cultivation, production, and delivery of healthy foods to underserved, urban populations. In 1995, while assisting neighborhood children with a gardening project, Allen began developing the farming methods and educational programs that are now the hallmark of the non-profit organization Growing Power, which he directs and co-founded. Guiding all is his efforts is the recognition that the unhealthy diets of low-income, urban populations, and such related health problems as obesity and diabetes, largely are attributable to limited access to safe and affordable fresh fruits and vegetables. Rather than embracing the “back to the land” approach promoted by many within the sustainable agriculture movement, Allen’s holistic farming model incorporates both cultivating foodstuffs and designing food distribution networks in an urban setting. Through a novel synthesis of a variety of low-cost farming technologies – including use of raised beds, aquaculture, vermiculture, and heating greenhouses through composting – Growing Power produces vast amounts of food year-round at its main farming site, two acres of land located within Milwaukee’s city limits. Recently, cultivation of produce and livestock has begun at other urban and rural sites in and around Milwaukee and Chicago.  Through these and other programs still in development, Allen is experimenting with new and creative ways to improve the diet and health of the urban poor.

15)BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE  EARTH COMMUNITY  Kansas City, Kansas  January 16, 17, & 18th, 2009  

Keynote Speakers and conveyers: David Korten, Author of the Great Turning; David Cobb, Democracy Unlimited & 2004 Candidate for the Green Party; Lloyd Daniels, former member of the Missouri House of Representatives; Puanami Burgress, A Hawaii Community Building Facilitator & cultural interpreter, Janith English, Chief of the Kansas Wyandot Nation, Jim Embry, Eco-activist from Lexington, KY; Katherine Kelly & Daniel Dermitzel of the Kansas City Center for Agriculture and many more.

16) Speaking engagements for Jim Embry, Director of Sustainable Communities Network:

1/7/09  Art and Community Engagement,

Transylvania University

1/16-18/09 Sacred Food Connections, Breaking the Silence Gathering, Kansas City

1/21-24/09 Faith and Food, Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, Chattanooga, TN

1/25/ Terra Madre-Bringing the Message Home, Lexington Public Library

2/1 Faith and Food, Faith Lutheran Church

2/8 Sacred Earth Connections, Bahai Faith Service

2/21 Community Gardening and Community Transformation, Berea College Class

4/17-18 Youth and Community Engagement, Community Garden Conference us to arrange speaking engagements and consultation

Love and hugs to all,                                                                                                                    

Jim Embry,

Director Sustainable Communities Network    (859)312-7024

"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." ~Arundhati Roy


"Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable ... It comes only through the tireless efforts and passionate concern of dedicated individuals ... This is no time for apathy nor complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action."~— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.