An inside look at The Unity Gardens' new community learning center
SOUTH BEND, Ind.—Construction crews are making progress on the exterior of The Unity Gardens new community learning center at the LaSalle Avenue Garden.
Executive Director Sara Stewart says it’s been a long time coming.
“This is a symbol of what we've all been working for, not just the building, but the signified free food model, our edible parks, we are a beacon of food security throughout our entire community,” Stewart said to a group of community members and volunteers on Friday during a progress update.
Since 2009, South Bend’s Unity Gardens has served the west side neighborhood, providing free, healthy food and a gathering space for the community.
The gardens’ operations are entirely outdoors, save for a shed like shelter.
Watch the video below to find out why The Unity Gardens says the new community learning center is necessary. (Story continues below the video.)
Friday’s update also marks a transition in the nonprofit’s progress, from being on the building’s outer shell to imagining what the inside will look like.
Stewart led community members and volunteers on a tour of the building while construction crews were working. She pointed out each room and what it will be used for.
“If it pours down raining, our tours have to go somewhere else offsite and all of our classes that everyone has been so wonderful in participating in, we can’t host right on site where we can take advantage of our beautiful garden, our soil, all of that, so this allows us to have a home for unity gardens,” Stewart said.
Take a look at the photos below for more uses the space will have. (Story continues below photo gallery.)
An indoor project space (Photo courtesy of The Unity Gardens)
A produce market that will work to provide healthy food to South Bend's west side area. (Photo courtesy of The Unity Gardens)
A garden library will serve as a space where both children and adults can learn about gardening. (Photo courtesy of The Unity Gardens)
An event space to hold community events. (Photo courtesy of The Unity Gardens)
A classroom onsite will help The Unity Gardens add classes to their current list of over 100 class offerings each year. (Photo courtesy of The Unity Gardens)
The Unity Gardens is accepting donations from the community to fill the space with furniture and necessities. Anyone looking to donate to the project can directly “purchase” an item or piece of furniture on the website.
For example, a $200 donation buys a front porch rocking chair for the space.
For more information on the project or to make a donation, contact Sara Stewart at (574) 315-4361 or email email@example.com.