Jefferson Street Oasis: 3 Sheds for a Community Garden Program A Customer Story
November 5, 2020 Customer Stories
We were delighted this past spring when Terry Fredrich from Jefferson Street Oasis ordered a shed from Beachy Barns. This was the 3rd shed order that had come from them, and we love repeat customers! But, that wasn’t the only reason we were excited to receive this order. We also love what is happening at the Jefferson Street Oasis Community Gardens and were excited to be able to play another small part in the mission of this program.
Here is the customer story of Jefferson Street Oasis in Springfield, Ohio.
The Jefferson Street Oasis Garden was founded in 2010 by Mary Crabtree, Terry Fredrich, and Sherry Chen. The community garden is located on the former athletic field behind the old St. Mary Catholic School in Springfield. The organizers of the cooperative garden wanted a space for the community people of the inner city to have access to fresh, locally grown food while also providing an outlet for developing skill sets in gardening.
The idea has been popular in the community and every year the interest has grown. The managers of the garden are responsible to review applications for a garden spot and to divvy out the plots to applicants based on family size, gardening experience, and basic need. The plots range anywhere from 15’x15’ to 30×30’.
When we talked to Terry Fredrich recently, he talked about how the demand is growing every year and how they have nearly maxed out the available gardening space. In 2020 they had 75 adults from the community that were caring for their own plot in the community garden. “We estimated that this year the garden is feeding at least 350 people with fresh vegetables and produce,” Mr. Fredrich stated. We think that’s impressive.
The gardeners grow a wide variety of produce: tomatoes, onions, peppers, cabbage, fresh greens, herbs, pole beans, squash, zucchini, and more. While much of the produce is eaten fresh throughout the summer by local families, many of the gardeners also do canning of the produce to be able to use it throughout the year.
Chickens, Eggs, and a Chicken Shed
Gardening is not the only thing that happens at the Jefferson Street Oasis. In 2019 we delivered a 14×28 highwall shed to Jefferson Street Oasis for a chicken house/roost. After we delivered the shed, Terry and his cohorts decked it out with roosts, nesting boxes, and feeders to host their 100+ layers.
These Heritage Breed chickens are pastured and Terry told us that they are able to provide eggs to a lot of community people through their chicken program. People have to sign up to get the eggs through a CSA system where they buy shares in the program. The gardeners also get access to the eggs at a very reasonable price.
The managers of the organization love to see the gardens be used as a community space where education and interaction happens that benefits the local community. A nearby kitchen space is used to teach the gardeners how to can and preserve the produce as well as how to cook and prepare food from the garden for meals. A butterfly area, full of beautiful flowers provides educational opportunities to teach kids about pollination and how this affects the food chain.
The most recent addition, a children’s garden center was added this summer. In June we delivered an 8×14 cabin shed for the organization to use in conjunction with a faith-based after school program that operates right next to the gardens.
This shed is being used as a children’s garden center, extending the after-school program to the summertime and introducing the children in the program to gardening alongside of faith-based activities and Bible study. The garden shed has a potting bench and is being used as the kid’s space for activities and garden projects.
The Biggest In the Region
In our conversation with Terry he mentioned that they are the biggest community garden program in the region. Springfield is not a huge city and to have a community garden program that is larger than the ones in the larger cities of Columbus or Cincinatti is “quite an accomplishment,” in the words of Terry. We agree, and we are proud to have been able to provide sheds to a community program like this.
Jefferson Street Oasis is a non-profit organization. “We have no government funding,” Terry told us. “Our funding is all based on individual donations, churches, and business.” As an organization, they rely heavily on both fundraising events throughout the year and individual contributions. If you are interested in learning more about fundraising events or contributing to their mission, you can visit the Jefferson Street Oasis Facebook page.
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