The community garden in Frog Island Park had its first growing season in 2007. The garden was conceived by members of the Riverside Neighborhood Association who participated in Growing Hope's Community and School Garden Institute. As Riverside is one of the densest neighborhoods in the County, few vacant lots were available for a garden; the site in Frog Island Park was suggested by Ypsilanti's Public Works Director when the neighborhood approached him to ask about mulch and compost. The garden had a fairly high profile even before it had any physical presence, with an ambitious design drawn up by a Riverside resident landscape architect, and the park's other neighbors, the Historic East Side Neighborhood Association and Depot Town DDA brought on as partners - the use of parkland required the gardeners to approach Ypsilanti City Council for formal permission, allowing them to show off the design work they'd done.
Recycled and reclaimed materials are showcased in the garden's design. Mulch and compost will be provided by the City's Public Works department, which collects these as waste materials, and raised beds will be constructed from logs, also provided by the City from downed trees. Much of the fencing will be a wattle fence woven from buckthorn branches, an invasive species that the gardeners cleared from the riverbank. Where the garden's layout requires a terraced area built into the side of a hill, a low retaining wall will be constructed of broken concrete from a parking lot resurfacing project. The garden's site plan also envisions a demonstration native forest/prairie planting area, further reducing the area that requires active maintenance by the City, and sculpture garden-style art installations.
Frog Island community garden has a very active gardener engagement in it's public space and offers plots to residents on a sliding scale. To contact FICG, please visit www.frogisland.org