Updates for May 2017

On May 6th and 7th we did the layout and tilling for a sunflower border on the Sweet Potato Project site at Union Avenue Christian Church.

raised beds for sweet potatoes and the sunflower border

On May 12th and 13th we worked two field in Old North – our original site at 1322 Warren Street and the Ames VPA site at Hadley & Wright. Here are a few pix:

tilling on Warren Street
weed barrier and mulching in progress

The teachers at Ames VPA planted at Hadley and Wright on May 15th.

planting in the afternoon

How to Create Your Own Sunflower Project

Starting a Sunflower+ Project: Part 1

Short Version

  • Find a lot/site
  • Secure approval to use the site
  • Test the soil (go or no go decision on project)
  • Turn over the soil
  • Plant the seeds
  • Watch them grow


The secret to a successful, volunteer driven, labor of love like the Sunflower+ Project: STL is simplicity. It is a low budget, low cost, occasionally volunteer intensive beautification project with a lot of other community benefits as well.

The neighborhood of our first site was interested in this sort of project. We were awarded a garden lease and $5k in startup funds as a winning entry in a design competition geared towards reimagining vacant, urban land from liability to asset. This contest had a sustainability focus as well. The contest process gave us opportunities to review with neighborhood stakeholders and receive feedback from folks inside and outside of our team. Community buy-in and feedback from the beginning is critical to all neighborhood work. People in neighborhoods have their own, busy lives and are not likely to be impressed with people providing ‘a gift’ that they have not asked for or identified themselves.