North College Hill garden is true community effort

When North College Hill WeTHRIVE! team member Carla Belcher started planning a community garden, the response was positive. “Everybody I talked to welcomed the idea of having a garden and they all were really excited about the potential that it could bring to the community,” said the North College Hill resident.

This enthusiasm started with the NCH school district. “The schools were really, really open to the idea,” Carla said. She worked with middle school teacher Elizabeth Keller, superintendent Eugene Blalock, Jr., and treasurer Nick Martin to bring together the partners and funding to build the NCH School and Community Garden.

fence with sign for NCH school and community garden with raised garden beds behind it
The garden is located behind the NCH School Board building on Goodman Street.

The garden is a true community effort, with a long list of partners and supporters:

two people assembling a raised garden bed
Volunteers from Miami University and the University of Cincinnati built the raised garden beds. Students from NCH Middle School helped with preparing the beds and planting.

As the garden grows, people are starting to take notice. “The community is really getting into it,” Carla said. “Because the garden sits on a corner that’s so visible, people are constantly seeing it and stopping to see what it’s all about. They’re watching over it like it is their property.”

Even in the heat of summer, the community came through when Carla recently had surgery and wasn’t able to tend the garden. “Someone is out there every day,” Carla said. “Shari Blessing and others in the building have been helping out all summer. They come out on their lunch break and water and take care of it.”

vegetables growing
The harvest is free to everyone.

Carla sees the garden as a way to build the community connections needed to impact things like crime, poverty, and infant mortality in North College Hill.

“I’m so proud of everyone,” she said. “I love our little city. We have lots of issues, but I’m so proud we’ve been able to all come together to make this happen.”

You can get involved with WeTHRIVE! in North College Hill:

Carla Belcher holding sign that says WeTHRIVE! Champion, with WeTHRIVE! banner in background.

Carla Belcher is a 2018 WeTHRIVE! Community Champion.

Check out our other stories featuring WeTHRIVE! in North College Hill: