On Tuesday, Mayor Greg Fischer announced the “Lots of Possibility” contest — a contest seeking proposals for making productive use of some of the more than 450 Metro or Land Bank-owned vacant properties.
But Amanda Fuller and Peter Thiong are ahead of the game. They have already acquired one-third of an acre — five parcels of vacant land that they bought from the Land Bank for $50 — and are establishing a market garden and orchard in Portland.
They’re calling their effort “Lots of Food.”
This is the lead on the Lots of Food website: “We are tackling Louisville’s vacant lot problem with shovels and compost. Where others see overgrown lots we see fertile soil, and we say, ‘Farm It!'”
Now Fuller and Thiong have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise at least $5,500 for improvements to their lot. They hope to install a fence (“so the trees don’t run away,” their campaign site says), add a storage shed, and install water catchment tanks off of neighboring roofs.
Fuller and Thiong also are focusing on raising crops that few people in the area grow. That includes nuts — almonds, hazelnuts and peanuts — berries, herbs for tea, and fruit.
The two met through Breaking New Grounds — the now-defunct community composting initiative — and both have a strong background in agriculture.
Thiong has a degree in agriculture from Berea College and currently works at Raising Hope Farm — the farm owned by Ramsi and Rhona Kamar of Ramsi’s Cafe on the World — in Fisherville, Ky. Fuller has a master’s degree in environmental studies, spent three years in the Peace Corps, and currently works on a variety of urban sustainability initiatives in Louisville.
The Kickstarter campaign has been active for around a week. Lots of Food already has more than 50 backers and has raised more than $3000. There are still 31 days left to contribute. Watch the Kickstarter video and read more about their campaign here.