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New sites available for city’s free land lease program for urban farming and gardening

Brian Wolfe rakes mulch at the Lawrence Community Orchard on Saturday during a volunteer work day at the garden. The orchard at 830 Garfield St. in East Lawrence is one of the community gardens in the city's Common Ground program.

Brian Wolfe rakes mulch at the Lawrence Community Orchard on Saturday during a volunteer work day at the garden. The orchard at 830 Garfield St. in East Lawrence is one of the community gardens in the city's Common Ground program.

March 17, 2017

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The City of Lawrence is offering additional sites for farming and gardening as part of its Common Ground Program.

Leases for the 2017 growing season are available, and farmers and gardeners can apply for a variety of parcels, from small plots in a community garden to an urban farm consisting of more than an acre of land, according to a news release.

The community gardening and urban agriculture program was created by the city in 2012. As part of the program, the city leases vacant or under-utilized properties to citizens for free, provided the land is used for food production.

As part of the application for the free land lease, program participants must propose a “Community Benefit Plan.” Examples of community benefits include donation of produce to local food pantries or participation in educational outreach programs.

This past year, Common Ground gardens, farms and orchards were tended by 200 growers, supported by more than 900 volunteers and generated 6,500 pounds in donated produce.

Applications to lease land as part of the Common Ground Program will be accepted on a rolling basis, and are first come, first served. The application materials are available on the city's website. For more information, contact Sustainability Director Eileen Horn at ehorn@lawrenceks.org or 330-3121

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