About the Garden

E. 39th Community Garden

  Aeronauts 2000  Intergenerational Pilot Project  challenges our young technology leaders of tomorrow to create tools to improve the lives of older adults today.  Since 2015, the crew has conducted research on aging, develop an intergenera-tional board game that compares aging to space travel, and developing gerontechnology tools that will help seniors age in place.  

In 2017 a quarter acre of land was donated to start an community garden that focuses on  growing plants that are helpful to seniors manage chronic illnesses and pain. Since then, the crew grows a variety of  vegetables, herbs and fruit for free distribution  at E 39th and Community College Avenue  in the Central Area of Cleveland, Ohio.    

In 2018  interns constructed 7 raised  beds and grew a successful crop of vegetables, distributing to over 60 seniors and  neighbors at the site and to Eliza Bryant Village. Their research activity focused on understanding the chemistry behind plants. Handouts on the medicinal use of the plant were distributed with the produce. 

In 2019, the focus was on  beautification and community engagement to create a safe place that would attract participation. The team added a brick walkway for better access to the site for seniors, and  open space areas for community gatherings.  The goal  is to create an open space  for public art, around  the  themes of  Empowerment and Wellness.          

In 2020, a permanent art display was installed at the site to allow residents to express themselves creatively in a safe space, attract residents to the garden to learn about gardening,  and enhance the visual aesthetic  of the block.  Four art panels were designed by Johnson and her students  on Self-Esteem, Friendship, and  Black Lives Matter; and an interactive panel that allows persons to take pictures and become apart of the piece.  

In 2021, art therapy and gardening were used to address mental health issues affecting Central stakeholders during the pandemic. Two public art exhibits were installed entitled, Hands Across Central and Becoming Unmaksed.  Johnson and her  crew engaged an intergenerational group of over 50 residents, professionals, and donors around a retrospective  around mental health issues post- COVID and their vision for Central.  Group members designed  8" x 10" hand word art panels, which the crew embellished, assembled  and mounted  on  two -  3'x5'  hardee board  through a special process perfected to winterize the panels. In addition,  24  2-sided masks were designed and embellished around  contrasting themes of love, hope and perseverance against the backdrop of violence and despair in the Central community in Cleveland, Ohio. The panels, along with a collage including the  artists who created them is on display at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center in downtown Cleveland.

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