The fourth annual Urban Farm and Backyard Garden Tour of the Riverbend will have expanded hours this year, due to farmers’ requests.
The Sierra Club invites the public to meet and see the farmers, gardeners and chicken coop owners who will display their edible yards and farms from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 9. An electronic map of participating farms, gardens and coops is being issued to “tourists” who would like to partake in the free tour. Tourists must register by 5 p.m. Friday, May 8.
“We enjoy partnering with the many organizations that have small gardens as well as local growers — many who sell at Alton Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market,” said Christine Favilla, Three Rivers Project co-coordinator. “At least eight vendors and neighbors of the Godfrey-Alton area are welcoming the public to come and see where the farming magic happens.”
Contained within this tour is an opportunity for those interested in getting a firsthand look at neighbors’ and community members’ spaces. Educational tips will help those who want to transition from energy-intensive lawns to gardens and yards that are producing edible yields. From the first seeds sown, to the final harvest, the farmers and gardeners will relay all the experience they can and answer any question that comes to mind for “tourists” on this self-guided tour.
“It’s a chance to show our appreciation of our local growers and get ideas for our own back yards,” said Dana Winn, SIUE’s intern for Sierra Club’s Local Food project. “In the fall, we hope to feature the upcoming Lincoln Douglas Community Garden and Hellrung’s raised beds after a successful summer.”
After receiving the map, participants will plan out their route to see all the sites of their interest within the event’s duration, based on the variety of hours the individual sites will be open. No matter which site one chooses to go to, shining demonstrations of urban homesteading, organic gardening and encouragement for you to start your own will be provided. The fall tour is planned for Oct. 4; a great opportunity to allow participants to see what can still be planted in the fall and proper harvesting techniques.
Some of the local farms that will be on this tour again are:
- Alton Middle School
- Clifford Clark’s backyard garden
- Community Cultivators’ Jaime Hines Discovery Garden and Grassroots Grocery’s Herb and Edible Boxes
- Dry Street Gardens
- La Vista Community Supported Agriculture Farm
- North Elementary Community Gardens
- Senior Services Plus Inc.
To be a garden/farm on the tour, register at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1IjrinyGgqYn_7K47QbsJiKHSP8Czf0D6Uys5beSEReY/viewform?c=0&w=1 by Friday, May 8, no later than noon.
To register to be a tourist, guests should email firstname.lastname@example.org with the number in their party by 5 p.m. Friday, May 8, and they will receive a map via email.