Tempe's Urban Garden

"From little things big things grow." -- Paul Kelly & The Messengers

In no time, everything in this town will be toast. But for the moment, it's time to garden. 

Everything's green -- from our own Shannon Armour's first attempt at gardening to some experts' efforts to really make things happen. From time to time, we'll feature such projects.

First up, we were intrigued by the Tempe Urban Garden (TUG) at 5th and Forest, across the street from the Tempe Transit Center.  

"The Urban Garden" continues the 'Locavore Movement,'" the Mill Avenue District/Downtown Tempe Community web site explains, "which is a collaborative effort to build more locally based, self-reliant food economies - one in which sustainable food production, processing, distribution, and consumption is integrated to enhance the economic, environmental and social health of a particular place and is considered to be a part of the broader sustainability movement."

OK, that's a mouthful. But it all sounds good to us.  

Catherine Slye
Volunteers at work

Launched mid-November of 2009 with the support of Downtown Tempe Community, Caffe Boa, Greenzona and others (plus, TUG benefits from a cooperative effort with ASU's Sustainable Food and Farms students, and they need it, since TUG is an all-volunteer based effort) all the right players are in place for success.

The garden is pretty, but where's the production? (To be fair, we did see some lettuce.) Donald Kelly, a seasoned urban planner and part owner of Greenzona, a Tempe-based company that provides sustainability expertise, explains, "This is just phase one."  

Catherine Slye
Catherine Slye
A work in progress
Catherine Slye
Planned space
Up next, a local artist painted mural (applications are being accepted now - deadline is April 30), a children's corner for classes and ADA accessibility.
Even with big plans, there remains uncertainty. A big developer owns this piece of property, and they can at any time with a mere 30 days tell the gardeners to shove off, says Garden Coordinator Luke Graycheck.

With that possibility in mind, the urban garden is built to move, and the city of Tempe has agreed to help TUG find new digs if relocation is necessary.

Catherine Slye


Location Info


Tempe's Urban Garden

5th St. and Forest, Tempe, AZ

Category: General

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