HEARTLAND CONSERVATION ALLIANCE, BLUE RIVER WATERSHED

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Christina’s collaboration with the Heartland Conservation Alliance (HCA) began in the organizational formation conversations for KC Native Plant Initiative. This young environmental conservation non-profit runs programs that connect people to nature and environmental restoration processes. In 2018, HCA contracted Hoxie Collective to provide technical assistance to the first four Vacant to Vibrant grantees from the Urban Neighborhood Initiative (UNI). This program utilizes informational resources created by the Green Spaces and Urban Farms Action Group, inspired by the Detroit Future Cities Working with Lots Guide. The Vacant to Vibrant Guide and Templates provide planning and design guidance for a variety of uses on vacant lots that provide environmental and community benefits. Each of the first four grantees put their funds to use in different ways. One created a food forest in a well-established community garden conservancy. Another created pollinator gardens that are a part of her K-12 educational programming. A third team cleared and prepared a lot for local youth to plant an orchard and rain garden. And finally, the fourth grantee beautified her lot to be used as a community gathering place.

PROJECT DATA

Location

Greater Kansas City Region

Year

2018

Client

Jill Erickson

Executive Director

Heartland Conservation Alliance

jill@heartlandconservationalliance.org 

816.813.0944

Document and Website Links

SELECT UNI VACANT TO VIBRANT PROGRAM GRANTEES, 2018

Next Steps

  • Continue to plant food forest system around the sapling trees

  • Build a walking trail around the perimeter of the Manheim Park Garden Conservancy land

  • Measure the amount of food grown and number of people fed

  • Create and market educational programs on growing food and creature habitat

Recommendations

  • The Guidebook is best used during the application process rather than implementation.

  • Share specific information on processes learned such as: permaculture systems, soil cultivation, water harvesting, and community participation as well as commitment of hours and resources to create realistic expectations and increasingly successful projects throughout Kansas City.

Next Steps

  • Leverage funding to purchase fruit trees along south and west fences

  • Leverage funding to plant pollinator and rain gardens (have been designed) on north side of lot

  • Continue to provide education and maintenance support to neighbors

Recommendations

  • Identify partners in advance of grant cycle to leverage funding to complete high quality, sustainable projects.

  • Partner with existing neighborhood agencies delivering similar programming and support in order to accomplish more together.

  • Provide detailed information on cost, time, professional labor and service to give a better understanding of implementation.

  • Provide a vetted list of experienced contractors and material suppliers.

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