Lexington Food Justice Podcast #15

Happy 10 Years, Seedleaf!

Seedleaf is a local non-profit dedicated to improving healthy food access by creating community gardens where produce is shared with neighbors. And in December will celebrate its 10 year anniversary!!!

So we invited Executive Director, Ryan Koch, and recent intern, Christine Smith, to discuss Seedleaf's history and Mission, as well as the various programs and services offered. AND Seedleaf's vision for the next 10 years.

It was a terrific show. Hope you enjoy it too 👇🏽 

Listen to our Podcast!


Here's a Recap

10 Years of Community Gardens

Seedleaf's core programming is its network of Community Gardens. There's 15 of them throughout the center of our city. And an plan for an urban garden in the works! Here's some additional nuggets from our interview:

  • Based on recent census data, 40% of our community lives in areas designated by the USDA as food deserts where access to fresh, healthy food and transportation is a challenge. This also increases the risk for diabetes, obesity, malnutrition and other chronic health problems.
  • Seedleaf is the brainchild of many friends. But Ryan Koch lead the effort to establish the first gardens in 2007. And Ryan continues to orchestrate its development.
  • MISSION: To share the bountiful produce with neighbors in these food deserts -- working to create a more beautiful community with shared work, sweat and meaningful conversations in a community garden as a wonderful way to grow Lexington together.
  • VISIONS: Ryan's concerns for our community's food access problems helped refine his vision for a network of free, open gardens and productive green spaces welcoming all neighbors.
  • These gardens are supported by staff, countless volunteers, and incredible partnerships with schools, churches, and community organizations.
  • Seedleaf specializes in design, installation and maintenance of vegetable gardens; Management and upkeep of the community gardens; and Troubleshooting by helping individuals and garden plots.

Other Programming

  • COMPOSTING: An important component of Seedleaf's Mission is stewardship of the land. And one way to do this is through composting. So Seedleaf with the assistance of LFUCG Department if Waste Management developed "Compost Partners" program that operates to actively gather food from local restaurants in an effort to eliminate thousands of gallons of organic waste annually. The community benefits by reducing the transport costs of this organic material to area landfills.
  • MASTER COMPOST PROGRAM: Seedleaf trains "Master Composters" who are then asked to help neighbors and friends learn about the benefits of composting.
  • COMPOST CARPOOL: Place your kitchen scraps in Seedleaf's 5-gallon buckets. Then Seedleaf will come by every week to pick them up and replace with clean buckets.
  • MASTER COMMUNITY GARDEN TRAINING: Seedleaf offers a 4-week training on gardening!
  • SEEDS: Service, Education, Entrepreneurship in Downtown Spaces. This is a youth empowerment program to help them learn about gardening and the benefits of eating fresh, healthy food. The SEEDS kids meet twice a week during the summer months for hands-on lessons and skills development in growing, cooking, sharing and recycling food. SEEDS also offer field trips to enhance the experience. AND at the end of the Program is a graduation ceremony where the kids receive a $250 gift card, which they can use for whatever they wish. A great way to teach children valuable skills and a fun-filled summer experience!

Learn More

Up Next (november 10th)

Many THANKS again to Ryan Koch and Chirstine Smith! And best wishes for another 10 years.

Please tune in to our next show on November 10th, 10 - 11 am, 93.9 FM WLXU Lexington Community Radio.

Lauren Gawthrop (Marketing Manager) and Bill Bickford (General Manager) for Good Foods Co-op will join us to discuss the Co-op's 45 year history of serving our community. And we'll also discuss how the Co-op will continue to serve us -- even with a industry landscape that is shifting so quickly these days.