News From Terre Haute, Indiana

August 19, 2012

Community Garden Party

Gardeners across Indiana celebrate sustainability

Brian Boyce
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Local gardening enthusiasts joined those across the state in celebration of sustainability Saturday afternoon.

Multiple groups joined in for a Community Garden Party near North 11th and Chestnut streets, across the street from Indiana State University’s Community Garden. Some 200 visitors had come through by noon, walking amid the offerings of four local gardens, including ISU’s, that of the Federal Corrections Complex at Terre Haute, the Wabash Valley Master Gardeners’ Giving Garden and the ISU Child Care garden.

Jim Speer, a professor of geology and geography at ISU, explained the project was part of Sustainable Indiana 2016, a state-wide initiative aimed at increasing awareness of the concept. This year’s theme is gardens, and community gardens across the state hosted parties at their location, he said.

“Next year’s theme is bicycling,” he noted.

Sustainable Indiana 2016 is a collaborative initiative of Earth Charter Indiana. Judy Voss, a state representative of the project, explained several years ago a Forbes magazine poll ranked states based on their sustainability initiatives. Indiana, she said, ranked 49 out of 50. Through education and collaborative initiatives, the group hopes to bring the state into the top 20 by its bicentennial in 2016.

“We’re all about telling people they’re doing great and to keep it up,” she said. “We’re doing these events all over the state today. This is our mass action.”

Norbert Gottschling, a member of Our Green Valley Alliance for Sustainability, said the local event combined gardening with food and fellowship. Musicians Brett McPike and the Yearbook Committee performed on a stage set in the shade of trees, as health-conscious food was served nearby.

“It’s going great,” Gottschling said. “It’s a great opportunity to invite people to come out and celebrate.”

Patti Weaver, director of the ISU Community Garden, said despite the record-setting heat this summer, the group’s plots have done well thanks to ample watering. Some 120 plots are managed by 65 patrons there, with plans to expand across the street at some point, she said.

“We have expanded all we can on this specific site, but we’re honestly considering expanding into the parking lot across the street,” she said, noting that could be a couple years from now. “I already have three new people signed up for next year.”

Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or