Applications available for city of Pittsburgh Edible Gardens program

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PITTSBURGH - Pittsburgh mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced Wednesday that applications are now available for his spring 2013 Edible Gardens program.

The program is an extension of Green Up Pittsburgh and will engage community volunteers to improve access to healthy foods in 10 to 15 low income city neighborhoods.

Volunteers will transform vacant lots into community gardens to grow, maintain and harvest nearly one ton of fresh produce for at least 200 families in its first year.

“This program not only fulfills our promise to inspire more families to eat fresh, healthy food but improves community pride by transforming vacant lots into true neighborhood assets," said Ravenstahl.  "Our residents are amazing volunteers who have worked hard utilizing our ServePGH and Green Up programs to transform vacant lots and mentor young people. I have no doubt that this initiative will be just as embraced by our residents."

Residents who live a significant distance from grocery stores or farmers markets are encouraged to apply to grow fruits and vegetables on a nearby city-owned lot in their neighborhood.

Volunteers will work side-by-side with the mayor's Green Up Pittsburgh’s Green Team on vacant properties to create, design and plant produce. Community garden stewards will be responsible for maintenance, weeding, harvesting and distribution throughout the season.  Assistance from the mayor's Green Team will be available upon request.

Applications are required, and those received by February 22 will be given priority; however, completed applications will be accepted throughout the growing season.  Application approval and an orientation will be required prior to planting.  The first gardens will be planted in March and April 2013.

 Visit pittsburghpa.gov/ediblegardens to apply.  For more information, email chelsea.peluso@pittsburghpa.gov or call 412-255-8680.