Molly Beth Rice, Good Soil for the Peoria North End Urban Garden
The Peoria North End Urban Garden is an idea started by Molly and Michael Rice in the North End neighborhood located at 1116 – 1120 NE Glendale Ave. in Peoria, Illinois. This neighborhood is impoverished and has had at least half the existing homes and businesses torn down in the last 30 – 40 years. Because of this, there are many vacant and neglected lots. The garden project’s goal is to use some of those lots to provide a garden learning experience and fresh fruits and vegetables to the neighborhood residents.
This garden also serves as a means for neighbors to get to know one another and provides positive activities, such as art, science, cooperation and education, in a space that was formerly known for violence, neglect, arson and trash. Molly and Michael’s hearts are in this neighborhood and they chose to return to their roots when they moved here in August of 2015. They are doing as much good as they can and so far they obtained two vacant lots from the city for free, they spoke at the Peoria Women’s Club luncheon to promote the project, and they received many donations of goods to help with the garden.