Bloomingdale Gardens Project

In April 2014, The Plentiful Earth Foundation of Winchester Ohio purchased the empty lot at 1204 Marion Street (adjoining the current High Street project). The Plentiful Earth Foundation is dedicated to cultivating communities of abundance to ensure that everyone has access to a local, sustainable food supply. Plentiful Earth Foundation’s core mission is to foster the development of Communities of Abundance throughout the US and around the world in which all people have equal access to fresh, organic, sustainable local food sources as a basic human right, while working to strengthen both rural and urban communities by offering a “hand up” instead of a “hand out” to those most in need.

The Plentiful earth Foundation works with community groups and other organizations to re-localize the food supply and revitalize local farms and family businesses while also providing volunteer opportunities, internship programs, and living wage staff positions to disadvantaged members of our communities.

In January of 2018 Phillipe and Samantha Arney, who owned Young Urban Homesteaders, purchased the lot from the Plentiful Earth Foundation and they continued to develop the garden into what you mostly see today.

In 2021, the Young Urban Homesteaders moved under the Windrose Learning umbrella, joining a like-minded organization dedicated to quality, integrity, and creativity while supporting the local community and providing fresh products.

April 20, 2021 Chris and Vonda Walker purchased the 54′ x 83′ garden from Samantha and Philippe. They live on High Street and wanted to continue the Young Urban Homesteaders tradition of responsible, sustainable gardening with the continued goal of someday turning it into a true community garden.

In December 2021 the adjacent 54′ x 29′ lot at 420 High Street was purchased and in the Spring of 2022, the decision was made to expand the garden with the generous help of the Allen County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Chris and Vonda also partnered with Bloomingdale Elementary School and began opening the garden to tours and planting in Spring 2022.

Dan Wire, Associate supervisor of the Allen County SWCD and Vice President of the Maumee Watershed Alliance, connected the District with the Walkers in May of 2022 in hopes of expanding Bloomingdale Gardens. This opportunity could not have come at a better time. The District had been in search of an urban demonstration farm as part of their Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Urban and Small Farms grant.

The primary goal of the demonstration farm is to introduce soil health practices such as cover crops, crop rotation, no-till, mulching, and other conservation related practices. Bloomingdale Gardens features both annual and perennial crops and plants.

Current demonstrations include raised beds as well as traditional row crops. The District plans to expand its demonstrations to include a high tunnel as well as straw bale plantings and compost demonstration.