Welcome to Trybal Revival Gardens
A lot has changed at Trybal Revival Gardens over the past few years. Below is a summary of what’s going on . . .
Community Garden Update
After a successful run at operating a community garden for eight or nine years, we have closed the gate. This was a tough call to make and several factors contributed to our decision to discontinue the community garden. We had dwindling interest from the community (although we had a couple of die-hard gardeners that had been with us from the beginning!); about a third of the garden had become significantly more shaded than it was when we started; and the never-ending battle against the quack-grass proved more than we could to keep up with. With all these factors combined with the simple fact that we are not getting any younger, we determined that Trybal Revival Community Garden would close. We are now in a process of removing the garden beds and planning a transition to a more naturalized green-space with shrubs, natives plants, flowers and perhaps just a few raised beds.
Eco-Garden to Pocket Community
Over the past five or six years we had been developing the block to the east of us, which we referred to as the Trybal Revival Eastside Eco-garden (TREE), into an edible landscape using principles of permaculture; we also had a good sized production garden in that space. This property did not belong to us, we were caring for the property through the Kalamazoo Land Bank’s “adopt-a-lot” program. It was previously blighted property where abandoned houses had been demolished, and the property was in need of revitalization. Over the years we established and maintained the property as a productive orchard and attractive green space on the east side of Kalamazoo.
Since that time, the Land Bank acquired several additional lots that were contiguous with the Eco-garden lots — this made it practical for them to do something on a larger scale with the property. The Land Bank is now in full swing of planning a “pocket community” of seven to eight small homes on this property. It is our hope that they will value some of the plantings we have established and incorporate them in their landscaping, but in the end, it is their property to re-purpose as they see fit. We have mixed emotions about this outcome — we poured a lot of ourselves into transforming that space, but in the end it was a lot of work for the two of us to maintain and we were not successful in finding other community members or partners to engage in the space. We wish the Land Bank success in creating their vision in that space.
Forming a Smaller Circle
While the news of closing the Community Garden and dismantling of the Eco-Garden may sound like sad endings, we don’t see them as endings . . . we see it as a cycle. We are forming a smaller circle at Trybal Revival Gardens — one that is more realistic for two people to maintain as we age and enjoy other interests. Our kitchen garden, apiary and rain garden are all going strong. Tomme has been providing our friends and neighbors at Peace House with significant garden assistance for their programming over the past couple years which is just a different way to support community gardening on the Eastside.