The Enos Park Neighborhood Gardens are a nexus of our neighborhood—where fresh produce and community spirit interact to produce abundance. Our mission is to foster an environment where people from all walks of life can come together to grow high-quality food. We want to increase access to fresh produce, teach others valuable skills, and create a context where people can become neighbors.
Our communal garden consists of 30 raised beds (4′ x 8′), plus 3 wheelchair-accessible beds (2′ x 4′), making up about 1000 square feet of garden space where we share in the work and share in the harvest. Our garden has always been 100% organic.
Volunteers prepare, plant, maintain, and harvest under the direction of the garden manager, with volunteers getting the first pick of the harvest. Produce is distributed through our Free Farmers Market on Saturdays, June through August, with the surplus donated to our community partner, Kumler Outreach Ministries for its food pantry, and St. John’s Breadline.
Typically we plant the vegetables we all love to eat and that grow well in our climate — a couple dozen varieties. We have an established asparagus and perennial onion patch, and are increasing the number and amount of fresh herbs we offer.
Anyone may volunteer in our communal garden. Older teens may volunteer on their own with parental permission but we ask caretakers to supervise children.
Our personal plot area contains 21 raised beds (4′ x 8′) along with 2 wheelchair-accessible beds (2′ x 4′). Personal plots can be rented for $10/gardening year, or for 2 hours of volunteer time in our communal garden. This rental fee comes with access to water, tools, seeds, mulch, and occasional seedlings. Gardening advice is available upon request. Personal plots are 100% organic.
Anyone may rent a personal plot, whether living in the Enos Park neighborhood or outside the neighborhood. Personal plot gardeners may tend their plots at any time. Typically, we start the year with a waiting list. Please email the manager, , if you would like to rent a personal plot.
A grant from the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln and a donation from Ecofluent have expanded the fruit offerings of our garden. We have an established rhubarb patch, and have young pear, apple, Asian pear, plum, mulberry, paw paw, and serviceberry trees. We offer a free U-pick strawberry patch in season (mid-May to mid-June), and have young raspberry, black raspberry, blackberry, elderberry (medicinal), and grape vines which we hope will soon start bearing fruit. In a few years, all will be producing fresh organic fruit for our community.
Our partnership with the Sierra Club has resulted in 1600 square feet in two parcels in the lawn of the garden being planted in a native prairie, heavily skewed toward short- to medium-height flowers. This is part of a nationwide push to increase monarch habitat, and also attracts much-valued and beneficial pollinators to our garden. Many thanks to Erin Kirkpatrick for taking our mutual dream and making it a reality.
The Enos Park Neighborhood Gardens is currently a collaboration between the Enos Park Neighborhood Improvement Association (EPNIA) and Kumler Outreach Ministries, both of which contribute funds, support, and volunteers to make the garden a vibrant part of our community.
Additionally, the garden has prospered with grants from the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln and the Dominican Sisters. We have welcomed volunteer groups from many organizations, and received the gifts of seedlings from those in the community as well as Eric Pope of Taylorville who is our dedicated grower, bringing us dozens of seedlings free of charge every spring.
In 2023, we are excited to again host Planting with Police, a collaboration between the Springfield Police Department and the downtown YMCA to facilitate good relationships between area kids and our police department.
If your organization would like to collaborate on an event or program, please get in touch!
The neighborhood gardens began in 2012 at the Springfield Art Association (SAA), 700 North Fourth, as an Eagle Scout project to build beds, with the actual gardening taking place the following year. The great success at this location inspired volunteers to create a second location, which is our current site. The original garden has since been demolished, as a planned expansion of the SAA campus.
Our goals have not changed much since the beginning:
The focus of The Neighborhood Gardens is to build community while teaching people how to grow high-quality, nutritious food. As neighbors gather in the garden to plant their personal plots and the communal plot, people are getting to know one another. It’s becoming an “our” space for the neighborhood, a place where people can come together, work together and learn from one another.
See our gallery of photos from our garden, including volunteers and gatherings!