This year, all 44 plots were leased, half to returning gardeners and half to new families. In the spring, students at Clark Middle School received a legislative citation for their work making art for the Gardens, and Sen. Johnny Ellis and Rep. Geran Tarr presented the citations to Clark Middle School students at an event at the Gardens in May.
About the Gardens
In 2010, at the community’s request, the state of Alaska installed four large garden beds as part an important new highway overpass into Mountain View. These garden plots were built upon the former sites of high-density 8 and 10-plex housing, which had been torn down to make way for the Glenn Highway-Bragaw St. interchange project. People were excited to have a space to garden and build community. Unfortunately, budgets, politics, and a disagreement between the city and state conspired to keep the gardens space from opening. What was supposed to be an important new community asset deteriorated into a place of neglect and disuse, affirming many negative opinions about the Mountain View neighborhood.
In 2012, the Anchorage Community Land Trust (ACLT), a non-profit organization focusing on community revitalization in Mountain View, entered negotiations with the Municipality of Anchorage (MOA) to open and operate the community garden located at the Bragaw/Glenn Highway Interchange. Through resolutions passed by the Mountain View, Russian Jack, Airport Heights, and Northeast Community Councils, the community asked that a Memorandum of Agreement exist between the city and ACLT, in order to have ACLT take on the administration of the gardens. These same community councils signed resolutions urging the state legislature to fund work at the gardens. Thanks to the state legislature’s generous funding, Governor Parnell, and a matching grant by the Rasmuson foundation, the Anchorage Community Land Trust was able to make improvements to the site and this year, to open the gardens. On June 1st, 2012, ACLT signed an agreement with the Municipality of Anchorage, making the gardens part of a story of transformation and revitalization in Anchorage’s lowest-income and most diverse neighborhood.
Over the last three years, ACLT has completed capital improvements at the Gardens, including fencing the beds, amending the soil, installing signage, and constructing and installing a shed. In 2012, ACLT conducted capital improvements at the garden, including fencing the beds, conducting soil testing and amendments, and putting up signage. Every year, ACLT has provided gardening education through seed starting, transplanting, and composting workshops. In 2014 and 2015, art created by students from the Alaska Native Cultural Charter School, artists from the Arc of Anchorage, and students from Clark Middle School was created and installed at the Gardens (read more about those art projects here).
Community Development Manager, ACLT