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New community farm and garden in Midtown

Posted at 10:25 PM, May 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-04 01:25:30-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — A shuttered school in Midtown has been given new life.

A group called Flowers and Bullets Collective converted the former Julia Keen Elementary School into a co-op farm and garden.

Rows of plants are now sprouting up in what was once an empty lot in the Barrio Centro Neighborhood.

Dora Martinez saw its potential years ago.

"Rather than coming from a place of need or deficit, we saw the opportunity," Martinez said. "can we convert this desert into an oasis, by actually rebuilding the soil and coming together?"

Martinez is a member of Flowers and Bullets Collective, which is focused on building community through sustainability efforts.

The group has been busy -- they've created 13 gardens in two neighborhoods -- Julia Keen and Barrio Centro.

These areas, Martinez says, often lack access or knowledge of growing food and nutrition.

"Not everybody has the same level of access or privilege," Martinez said. "Not everybody can afford a water bill. So having a space where we are all sharing the responsibilities, the risk, but also the abundance, is really important because not everybody can have a backyard garden."

Now the collective is getting ready to open their newest garden -- the Midtown Farm.

Martinez says it's a place people can come and learn how to make their own backyard gardens and more.

"So we use gardens as the excuse to get people together, food, learning the skill sets. but then once we have them here, we do a lot of education and civic engagement," Martinez said.

The group is planning to hold a variety of workshops at the Midtown Farm, including how to plant a tree, composting, rain water harvesting, and how to animals.

The farm's grand opening is Saturday, May 4 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. It's located at 3538 E Ellington Place. There will be kids activities, food, and more.