Ithaca, N.Y. — A community garden on Floral Avenue opened last Friday after uncertainty surrounded the future of the community garden located on Route 13.

Chrys Gardner and Cody Austern-Aceto stand in front of the Floral Ave Community Garden that was completed on Friday. (Kyle Friend)

Chrys Gardener, of Cornell Cooperative Extension, founded the Floral Ave Community Garden after it became unclear whether or not the garden located near the Ithaca Farmer’s Market would reopen.

That garden, operated by Project Growing Hope, is located on city-owned land, like the garden on Floral Avenue, but that land “can be developed,” according to Gardener.

According to the Ithaca Community Garden website, Mayor Svante Myrick signed a new lease to allow gardening for the 2014 season and “hopefully for many more years to come.”

The Floral Avenue garden, which completed construction on Friday, is part of a “scattered sites approach,” according to Gardener.

“If there is community gardens in different neighborhoods of the City of Ithaca, not only are they more accessible to people — especially those without cars — but if the other community garden has to relocate, at least there are other places for people to plant,” said Gardener.

Although the garden is open today, Gardener said that the process to get the garden up and running was “convoluted.” She expressed frustration with what she said was the long-time it took to get the garden approved by city agencies.

Ithaca resident and Cooperative Extension work-study student Cody Austern-Aceto said that the garden means more to him than simply gardening.

“A lot of people around here are in apartments where they don’t have any soil. They don’t have any opportunities to grow food on their own,” said Austern-Aceto, who has been working on the project since spring.

“One guy, when he heard about the project, said ‘Wow! That’s amazing. My two-year-old daughter who loves gardening won’t have to go all the way to her grandmother’s house to do it’ …

“That’s what it’s all about for me.”

The first classes on growing begin Wednesday between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., as well as a second program between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

There is no cost to the programs; free plants will be offered to anyone that decides to come, according to Gardener.

For more information about the Floral Ave Community Garden, please contact Chrys Gardener at (607) 272-2292, extension 241.

Kyle Friend

A senior at Cornell University, Kyle covers the affordable housing crisis for the Ithaca Voice. Reach him through e-mail: kyleafriend@gmail.com.