Urban Agriculture
 

Since the late 1990's NCCD has been a partner in assisting urban residents in overcoming obstacles to community gardening and urban agriculture such as soil toxicity, land acquisition, and by developing a mini-grant program where community gardeners and urban farmers can apply for financial assistance. 

 

In 2017, NCCD worked in partnership with:

 

 

and was awarded a grant from the National Association of Conservation Districts as part of their "Urban Agriculture Conservation Initiative."  These funds allowed for the creation of a dedicated urban agriculture staff person and more robust urban agriculture programming.  Since then we have been working to build upon those programs and continue supporting the growing urban agriculture community in New Castle County. 

 

Below you will find more details about the different facets of our work in urban ag. For more information on any of the programs, please email Urban Agriculture Coordinator, Madison Walter at madison.walter@delaware.gov. 

Tomato freshly picked from the Village Tree Garden in Wilmington, DE.

NCCD tour of 2019 urban ag. grant recipients

 

Grow It Yourself (GIY)

Grow It Your (GIY) is a two year program where NCCD partners with communities in New Castle County to implement a self-sustaining adult container gardening workshop series. This program utilizes the "Train the Trainer" model to help build capacity amongst local community members to take ownership of their GIY program. 

If your community/church/center/group are interested in bringing GIY to your neighborhood, please contact Madison Walter for more details and schedule a consultation. 

To learn more about where we are currently working make sure to follow us on social media.

In light of COVID-19 we have been working on digitizing some of our GIY workshop class content! Check it out at the links below! 

Small Garden Planning Video Playlist

Container Gardening Basics Playlist

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GIY participants harvesting potatos grown in a laundry basket as part of a hands-on demonstration.

Education/

Workshops

NCCD is willing to provide workshops or info talks on a wide range of urban agriculture topics to groups that are actively engaged or just starting in urban ag work, including community gardens. Past topics have included: 

  • Container/Raised Bed Gardening

  • Water Conservation in Vegetable Gardens (including rain barrels)

  • Pollinator Habitat

  • Season Extension 

  • Composting

 

In addition to these "as-needed" workshops we also have a workshop series, Grow It Yourself (see above), and provide one on one meetings/consultations. 

 

Urban Farmer& Gardener Mini Grant Program

Workshop at Rose Hill community center.

Danette Brock, NCCo Dept. of Community Services, plants lettuce transplants at the Absalom Jones Senior Center, a 2019 mini-grant recipient. 

These grants, part of our Cost Share program, award up to $2000 to help urban growers improve and/or increase the access to local, healthy foods in New Castle County.  This includes many different types of practices at a wide variety of scales. Past projects have included:

  • Rain barrels/cisterns

  • Fencing

  • Garden start ups

  • Acquiring soil and tools

  • Outdoor food prep stations

  • many more!

 

Applications open at the beginning of each year for projects to be completed in the same calendar year's growing season.

Congratulations to our 2020 Recipients! 

  • Odyssey Charter School - “Girls Grow Green” hydroponic garden after school program 

  • Newark Church of Christ - new raised bed community garden 

  • Resurrection Parish Community Garden - low tunnels and  drip irrigation 

  • The Urban Garden Initiative - school workshops and raised beds installation at the Fletcher H. Brown B&G Club and at The Warehouse 

  • Planting to Feed, Inc. -  raised beds at new garden location 

  • Our Redeemer Lutheran Church - irrigation system 

  • West Side Grows, Delamore Place Garden - fencing, shed, and new plant starts 

  • Downtown Visions Community Garden - metal raised beds and garden workshops 

  • West Side Grows, Rodney Reservoir Community Garden - raised bed repairs

  • Rose Hill Community Garden -hydroponic growing system

  • Bellevue Farms- water line Installation

  • The Village Tree- reinforcing garden infrastructure

2019 Mini Grant Awardee- The Village Tree installed a new fence.

2019 Mini Grant Awardee- Our Redeemer Lutheran Church community garden newly installed rain barrels.

2018 Mini Grant Awardee- Kingswood Community Center installed 20 new, metal raised garden beds.

Sidewalk Squash:

An Urban Ag Journey

What is "Sidewalk Squash?"

Sidewalk Squash follows of our urban ag coordinator's adventures in rehabilitating a set of pumpkin seedlings found growing through the cracks of a sidewalk.

Why is it called "Sidewalk Squash" and not "Sidewalk Pumpkins?"

Pumpkins are actually considered a type of winter squash and belong to the Cucurbit or Gourd family (Cucurbitaceae). Other members of this family include melons, watermelon, summer squash, and cucumbers. We also chose squash over pumpkin because alterations are fun!

How did the seedlings get there?

Why were pumpkin seedling growing in the cracks of the sidewalk?you might be asking? How did they get there? Our best guess is that the seedlings came from seeds of a pumpkin that was smashed last Halloween. 

Make sure to follow us on Instagram @NewCastle_Conservation  to follow the story!  

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