As part of The Union’s commitment to assist with the revitalization of the North Omaha community, we launched our Abundance Garden project in 2013, providing fresh fruits and vegetables to our neighbors. Our facility is located within the boundaries of one of Nebraska’s most populous food deserts. Simply put, a food desert is a low-income census tract where a substantial number of residents lack easy access to a grocery store. Furthermore, according to data from the Omaha Community Foundation’s Landscape Omaha project, 35% of Northeast Omaha residents worry that their food may run out before they can afford to purchase more.
Lacking access to nutrient-rich foods, our neighbors are more likely to become overweight or obese and have a greater risk of developing chronic illness.
In May of 2018, The Union broke ground on the next phase of the Abundance Garden project, located in a 6,300 square foot lot adjacent to the Blue Lion.
Designed by The Union’s Garden Fellow, Andrew Tatreau, and funded by The Peter Kiewit Foundation, the new Abundance Garden will contain 960 square feet of raised garden beds, a geodesic dome greenhouse for seedlings and off-season growing, composting facilities, a performance space, and an outdoor classroom used for community events and The Union’s youth engagement programs.
The garden will include a wide variety of crops, from okra and ground cherries to several varieties of heirloom tomatoes, beans, peppers and melons. We will also be collaborating with the community’s refugee populations to start a dye garden where yields can be used to create natural dyes for fabric and weaving. The new garden also allows for space to plant a small orchard.
Produce grown in The Abundance Garden will be made available free of charge, to North Omaha residents and distributed with the help of local food banks, helping individuals and families meet this vital basic need.The Union previously implemented a CSA program for residents living in the Fair Deal Village Senior Apartments, providing them with fresh produce delivered to their door each week, and plans to re-launch this program as produce becomes available.
Beyond providing a much-needed source of fresh produce, the Garden will provide a beautiful, outdoor community space, as well as food growing resources (seed library, tools & workshops) for individuals who want to plant their own gardens.