Edgewood College: Students lead volunteer efforts to transform neighborhood

Opportunity for Madison Area to Get Involved

Contact: Ed Taylor, Director of Marketing & Communications 608-663-2333

Madison, Wis. (April 28, 2011) – Edgewood College students will once again get their hands dirty in an effort to help beautify a Madison neighborhood with edible landscaping. Inspired by the 2010 success of the Russett Road ‘Front Yard Gardens’ project, this year’s efforts will expand beyond Russett to include Balsam and Leland Roads as well. They will create an interwoven, street-long, neighborhood garden for residents to counteract social injustice, violence, isolation and public health issues of nutrition and exercise. Students from sociology and human service classes have worked cooperatively with residents of the neighborhoods and the Madison and Dane County Public Health Department to conduct outreach as well as to secure funding, donated plants, supplies and volunteers for the gardens.

The Front Yard Garden Project will offer a beautiful and productive place for residents to build community. The Balsam/Leland Road area is primarily populated by renters who live in 23 residential buildings and 99 apartments.

The project incorporates the work of UW-Madison landscape architecture students, who have engaged residents in a unique “participatory design” process. This process has guided neighbors to envision their community in a new way. Volunteer landscape designer Shelley Strom then integrated the students’ work and neighbors’ ideas to create a master plan for the three-block area of the gardens.

The Front Yard Garden project will help to create a sense of place, by reversing some of the effects of urban blight with beautification and edible landscapes. Research shows that physical deterioration such as damaged homes, trash accumulation, and graffiti can adversely affect the health of a neighborhood’s residents, and has an even greater effect than personal risk factors. Neighborhood gardens, particularly those providing fresh, healthy vegetables, in contrast, build a sense of community and place which are protective health factors.

For information on volunteering on April 30 and May 1, or to make a donation in support of this project, please call Kim Neuschel, Madison & Dane County Public Health Nurse, at 608-516-8317.

The Front Yard Garden is a project of Public Health Madison & Dane County, the UW-Madison, the Madison Area Permaculture Guild and Edgewood College.

Time: 10:00am – 4:00 pm.


Saturday, April 30 (Balsam/Leland garden installation: 5700 Block area of Balsam Rd., Madison)

Sunday, May 1 (Russett Rd. Plantings)

About Edgewood College

Located in Madison, WI, Edgewood College is a liberal arts Catholic college in the Dominican tradition, with 2,400 undergraduate and graduate students. It offers more than 40 academic and professional programs, including master’s degrees in business, education, nursing, and other fields, and a doctoral degree in educational leadership. For more information about Edgewood College, please visit http://www.edgewood.edu, or call Ed Taylor in Marketing & Communications at 608-663-2333.