302: Lincoln Hill Garden on Community Green Spaces.

Tailoring a green build project to address food insecurity, nutrition, and other community needs.

Diana Cuy Castellanos holds a Ph.D in nutrition and food systems and is a registered dietitian teaching courses in community nutrition and food justice at the University of Dayton. Her research interests include community-based participatory research, food insecurity and food environments. Stephen Mackell started volunteering for Mission of Mary Cooperative as an undergraduate at the University of Dayton and joined the staff full-time as the production and operations manager after completing his bachelor’s degree in economics and philosophy. He is also the founder of Compost Dayton, a company working to expand food scrap composting efforts by city of Dayton residents.

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Together they have been working on Lincoln Hill Garden, a sustainable, multipurpose urban agriculture and community green space within Dayton’s Twin Towers Neighborhood. This five-acre site, located among the residents it will serve, is being transformed with educational and recreational elements that increase neighborhood access to fresh, healthy foods and offers open green space for community gatherings and nature play.

In This Podcast:

Diana Cuy-Castellanos and Stephen Mackell share the story of Lincoln Hill Garden, a 5-acre community green space that was built on the site of a demolished public school. This property is serving the community with gardens, an urban farm, and a natural playground.  They share the background of how three organizations came together and listened to the community to build a project to fit the community as well as provide much needed assistance with healthy local produce.

Listen in and learn about:

    • How East End Community Services and Mission of Mary Cooperative worked with University of Dayton’s Hanley Sustainability Institute to protect a 5-acre site and create a multi-use green space called Lincoln Hill Gardens
    • How the university provides summer interns to work at the Garden helping the community and providing experience for the students
    • Two university students who were giving community demonstrations and were exposed to the reality of food insecurity
    • A definition of food security
    • Visualizing the space of Lincoln Hill Garden and how different areas progressed
    • More planning with play spaces and allowing for continued community use
    • Listening to and working with the community
    • The challenge of showing dedication and commitment to the community
    • The visions of what they hope this space will become
    • Some of the future goals that the university might be able to provide soon

As well as:

His failure – Using volunteers to build the first part of the 70-foot green house, running out of volunteer time before the evening came and having a thunderstorm roll through overnight knocking it all down

Her failure – Just daily failures and learning to work together

Her success – bringing the students and the neighbors together

His success –getting feedback from the community in that many people are taking pride in the area and that the green space is affecting people’s decisions to move into, stay, or even improve their own properties

His drive – is to grow and cultivate food for the community, as well as making food financially accessible to those who need help

Her drive – is very holistic starting with promoting healthy eating, and help people to connect with each other and create a culture of health around the food

His advice – Just start your project and go for it

Her advice – Jump out of your comfort zone and try something new

Books written by Diana:

Here’s a link to Diana’s stories.

Book recommendations:   

The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming by Henri Nouwen

The Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People, and Communities by Will Allen

 How to reach Lincoln Hill Garden:           

Facebook: @lincolnhillgardens

How to reach Mission of Mary Cooperative:     

Website: missionofmary.org

How to reach University of Dayton:        

Website: Hanley Sustainable Institute


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