Southeast Urbana Gets a Community Garden

The ribbon cutting for a new community garden in southeast Urbana took place on a sunny Saturday afternoon, September 8, 2012. Created by the Lierman Neighborhood Action Committee, it is part of the “Let’s Move” campaign launched by First Lady Michelle Obama to create community gardens in cities across the country.

Located at Washington and Lierman, the garden is at the center of a neighborhood which has been in the local mainstream media for its stories of robberies, shootings, and drug dealing. The garden is a sign that some members of the community are beginning to take control of their own destiny.

I spoke with Tommy Askins (in the photo on the right), who spent most of his days this summer out in the garden with a shovel in his hand. He has planted tomatoes, peppers, radishes, and lettuce. Originally from Louisiana, Tommy moved to Urbana after Hurricane Katrina and brought with him his gardening skills. Many youth in the community have come out to help Tommy in the garden. One of them who has put in many hours tilling the soil was chosen to cut the tape for the official dedication of the garden.


Lierman Garden

Thank you for caring about and coming to our neighborhood today- a community garden is something to celebrate! I wanted to clarify one thing though: Lanaeja Carter, who was chosen to cut the ribbon that garden coordinators Lizzie Carter and Tommy Askins held, was honored because of her stellar work at LNAC's cleanup days. During the course of 3 years, she has come to every one of our 7 cleanup days, picking up trash and supervising other kids while she did it. She is 11, and she is an inspiration. The first garden boxes were installed in August, and Tommy, Lizzie, and neighbor Jerry Hess have been busy in the LNAC garden since then. Additionally, Lizzie and Tommy have intensive, personal gardens from which they share with neighbors. Your picture features, L to R, Lizzie Carter, Tony, Lanaeja Carter, and Tommy Askins.


I'm not in a position to give funds, but I might have tools, etc that I could donate, which may be useful. Does the garden have a Wish List and what is contact info if donations are accepted?


You can contact Robin Arbiter about donations at

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