In 2010, at the community’s request, the State of Alaska installed four large garden beds as part of the highway overpass expansion project at the corner of Bragaw and the Glenn Highway. The garden plots were built in the same lots space where high-density 8 and 10-plex housing had once existed.
Nearing the project’s completion, a disagreement between the city and state regarding financial responsibility and management oversight brought the project to a standstill. From the road the important new community asset appeared deteriorated and abandoned and helped to reinforce the already exiting stereotypes of east Anchorage. Despite the political bickering, and true to the forces of nature, a few geurilla gardeners from the surrounding community pushed forward and took it upon themselves to make use of the fertile plots of land with nearly 180 degrees of open sunlight.
In fall of 2012 I had the honor to meet and interview one of these guerrilla gardeners, Pennelope, who as it turns comes from a lineage of Finish Famers and has had first hand experience with community gardens.
Thanks to the joint resolutions of support passed by the Mountain View, Russian Jack, Airport Heights, and Northeast Community Councils, on June 1st, 2012 the Anchorage Community Land Trust (ACLT), a non-profit organization focusing on community revitalization, signed an agreement with the Municipality of Anchorage to take over management of the gardens. ACLT saw the gardens as an important part of the ever progressing story of Anchorage’s oldest and most diverse neighborhoods, Mountain View.
ACLT is currently working on organizing community partners that are interested in offering educational resources and gardening supplies for the project. They are also looking for a few key volunteers with an interest in leadership, who have a knowledge about and interest in gardening and community projects.
Registration for Bragaw-Glenn garden plots will be held on March 30, 2013 and April 6, 2013 at the Mountain View Library.