We’re Putting Down Roots
Bellevue’s gardens are growing… from a pinch of herbs to bushels of fun!
Bona Fide Bellevue is thrilled to sponsor herb gardens around Bellevue as well as the Bellevue Friendship Garden. This program began in 2016 with an herb garden located near Kuhn’s on Lincoln Avenue. Today our community herb gardens have spread to locations at Bayne Library and the Lutheran Service Society, and our Bellevue Friendship Garden launched in 2022 at 616 Cliff Avenue. The herb gardens are free and open to everyone. We welcome you to take what you need throughout the summer from these community herb beds. The Bellevue Friendship Garden beds are available to individuals in the community based on applications — see below for more details.
The Bellevue Friendship Garden
Come grow with us! We have developed a new community garden in the vacant lot located at 616 Cliff Avenue thanks to the generosity of Allegheny Health Network and Highmark Health who are leasing the land to us.
The Bellevue Friendship Garden offers an accessible space for area residents to grow their own vegetables, herbs and flowers in an inclusive and welcoming environment that celebrates diversity and facilitates engagement regardless of culture, class, ethnicity, gender, age, or ability. We’ve partnered with Grow Pittsburgh, who are providing technical assistance and materials through their New Garden program to help us create and maintain a thriving community garden.
In addition to individual garden and compost memberships that are available for a seasonal fee, the garden will include communal herbs and flowers for all community members to harvest and enjoy at no cost. Garden members may rent only one bed. Membership includes use of the compost bins and access to finished compost. Compost members are not bed holders, but they can add their kitchen scraps and/or other acceptable material to our compost bins and have access to finished compost.
We envision the garden serving as an integral part of the local community and offering more than a space for growing food. Social, youth and educational activities will take place at the site, and we encourage all to participate and enjoy the space.
We ask all Bellevue Friendship Garden Members to adhere to the Garden Agreement and apply for bed space each season. Returning gardeners will be given priority. We strive to ensure equitable access to participate and one or more plots may be made available at no cost to community members demonstrating need.
2023 Garden Applications
Application must be submitted by March 25, 2023.
Beds will be offered on a first come, first served basis with returning gardeners receiving priority. You will receive a confirmation email letting you know if you have been assigned a bed or if you have been placed on a wait list. If you are on the wait list, our Gardening Committee will contact you as soon as a bed is available.
Have you got thyme to join us?
Ongoing Community Garden volunteer opportunities include assisting with community outreach and events, keeping the garden area looking nice and helping to care for communal plants. A sign-up sheet will be shared with garden members and community volunteers via Google Drive and will also be posted in the shed. In addition to volunteer activities, scheduled workdays, educational activities, and social events will also be posted both at the garden and on our website and social media. New activities may be added, so be sure to sign up for emails to get future updates!
Bellevue Friendship Garden Agreement (2023)
Provide space for people to grow their own fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers in ways that promote community building, garden education, exercise, health, and wellness.
The Bellevue Friendship Garden provides gardening opportunities for people from a wide variety of backgrounds (age, race, culture, social class) to grow their own food, increase their physical activity, get to know their neighbors, learn from each other, and interact in a natural gathering place for the physical and social benefit of the people and neighborhoods of the North Boroughs.
- Help combat food insecurity and increase access to fresh produce.
- Donate excess harvest to community service organizations or underserved populations.
- Provide habitat for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.
- Educate people on sustainable gardening practices and provide an opportunity for them to engage with their food system.
- Foster community and build connections with neighbors.
- Expose new generations to cultural traditions, promote intergenerational learning and provide the opportunity for people of diverse ethnic backgrounds to come together and share experiences and knowledge.
- Support healthier lifestyles, physical fitness, and sense of wellbeing.
The Bellevue Friendship Garden is an organic garden. Please adhere to organic growing and sustainable gardening principles. Do not use chemicals, such as herbicides (weed killers), insecticides (insect killers) or chemical fertilizers in your bed or in the communal garden areas. If you are not sure if something is allowed, please check with the garden coordinator.
Diversity, Equity + Inclusion (DEI)
Our community garden is intended to serve people with a wide range of ages, abilities, backgrounds, family sizes, and income levels. We strive to ensure equitable access to participate and one or more plots may be made available at no cost to community members. Application for such plot should be indicated on the application form. Bona Fide Bellevue’s Gardening Committee will determine if the request can be met and notify the applicant of the decision.
Community Garden committee meetings will be held two-three times per year (meeting dates and location will be announced prior to each meeting). I understand that my participation, contribution, and ideas for the gardens are highly valued, and I am encouraged to attend.
Garden members are required to participate in at least two (2) community garden workdays each year, as ability permits.
Caring for the Garden
Garden members are expected to help care for the garden by volunteering for ongoing maintenance tasks and sharing in other responsibilities related to garden management and activities. A sign-up sheet will be available in a shared Google Drive and will also be posted in the shed.
Please do not plant sprawling plants or extremely tall ones that may interfere with walkways between beds and/or shade other plots. Keep insects and weeds under control. If for any reason you will be temporarily unable to maintain your plot, please arrange for someone else to do so and inform the garden coordinator.
Please harvest only from your assigned bed or communal space. Vegetables, herbs, and flowers planted in communal spaces may be harvested by any member of the community.
Garden Maintenance Requirements
- Garden beds must be planted by June 7th and maintained throughout the year. Ongoing tasks include weeding, watering, and harvesting mature produce. Beds not planted by that date will be reassigned.
- Garden beds must be cleaned up by November 15th . Tasks include removing spent plants, garden labels, stakes, cages and temporary trellises, and covering the bed with straw to reduce weeds and help prevent soil erosion. Garden members who do not clean their beds by the date indicated will not be eligible for “returning gardener priority” if applying for membership the following year.