Old Town People’s Garden, a green corridor featuring an edible and pollinator garden of berries, rhubarb and flowers along the boardwalk adjacent to Bunnell Street Arts Center, is a USDA-sponsored People’s Garden project in a highly visible area. Throughout the year residents of and visitors to Homer utilize this area, the gateway to Bishop’s Beach Park. The project promotes stewardship, food security and offers an attractive and healthy alternative to walking in the road. There is currently no pedestrian path on Bunnell Ave. Since the development of Islands and Ocean, foot traffic in the area has increased considerably.
Especially in spring and fall, school groups frequent the area for educational trips to Bishop’s Beach and Islands and Ocean Visitor’s Center. We estimate that about 1000 kids, from Homer and beyond, walk Old Town to visit Bishop’s Beach on school tours every year. Shaping our physical environment encourages neighborhood exchange, shared values, and communal stewardship. This project serves as an example of how the Homer community can redefine our physical space to encourage walking, creative expression, awareness of food security and community resilience, and ultimately, a safer neighborhood. Directly and indirectly benefiting all members of the community, this project supports community MAPP Project goals fostering ‘Healthy Behaviors Across All Life Stages’.
Old Town People’s Garden aims to inspire more connecting trails and boardwalks to businesses and residents along Bunnell Street with an attractive green belt featuring fruit trees, berry bushes, street art and benches from Two Sisters past Bunnell Street Arts Center and to the Driftwood Inn. This neighborhood corridor is a highly visible and utilized zone. Old Town People’s Garden goals are healthy edible, educational and aesthetic enhancements to the greater Homer community. From the 1940’s through the 70’s, a giant potato patch in front of the Inlet Trading Post (now home to Bunnell Street Arts Center and Maura’s Café) established the sensible homestead ethic of cultivating available land for food. A neighborhood garden promotes dialog, stewardship, teamwork and healthy outdoor activities like designing, planting, weeding, watering, harvesting and sharing food that we are growing ourselves.