Worthington News

Transitional gardens

Worthington leader hopes idea takes root

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Need some raspberries for dessert? Try Indianola Park.

Want some blueberries for breakfast? Pick a pint along the Olentangy bike path.

They are free and are part of an initiative called transitional gardening.

Worthington City Council member Doug Smith is introducing the concept to Worthington, which could be the first community in Ohio to create transitional gardens, he said.

The idea is as simple as living off the land: Encourage residents to take advantage of food growing on public land, plant more as needed and let people know where they could find the food.

Smith is working with the Worthington Parks and Recreation Department and the Healthy Worthington Resource Center and Food Pantry to create an interactive map that would have a link on the websites of both organizations.

Open the map on a computer and be directed to the public, natural food sources in Worthington. If you find a patch of berries that aren't on the map, you will be able to share your news so others could partake.

Recipes for dishes like breakfast bars and jam using the free produce also will be on the website.

Smith knows of a black raspberry patch in Indianola Park, and walnuts, pawpaws, apples, mulberries and service berries on other parks and public land around the city.

In the fall, he hopes, the city will plant raspberries and blueberries along the Olentangy recreation path.

"We're going to start slowly, stick with what is already there," said Darren Hurley, director of parks and recreation. "We may add a few things."

Smith said he expects only a few people to use the gardens this year but hopes it would catch on in coming years. Grants are available to help grow the gardens, he said.

"Hopefully, more people will get involved," he said.

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