One of the largest community gardens in all of Ohio, the Benjamin Franklin Community Garden contains five acres of gardening plots that allow families to grow their own fruits, vegetables, and flowers. This community garden was founded in 1929, and every year since then has been filled with the dedication, pride, and hard work of all of the gardeners who plant there. This Cleveland Landmark also contains the Hunger Gardens, which are 20 individual gardens designated to produce thousands of pounds of vegetables for local hunger centers and food banks.
In the 1980's, the city attempted to close the Benjamin Franklin Gardens to build a parking lot. As you can imagine, this would have been a devastating blow for the community as many families relied on the gardens for food, including those who benefit from Ben Franklin's produce at the hunger centers and food banks within Cleveland. Fortunately, a petition was made against this attempt and Benjamin Franklin's gardens continue to thrive today!
In 2016, M.A.D. Club partnered with Ben Franklin to work in the Hunger Gardens, a section of the community garden containing 30 plots dedicated to growing vegetables for six local food banks and hunger centers. Beginning in the spring, M.A.D. Club volunteers spent their weekends planting, weeding, and harvesting vegetables that ultimately feed the hungry in the Cleveland area. At the conclusion of the 2016 growing season, M.A.D. Club volunteers were responsible for the harvest of 2,500 pounds of vegetables that they cared for over the course of four months. Volunteering at Ben Franklin has become a volunteer favorite, and M.A.D. Club has returned for every growing season since then. After the 2019 season, M.A.D. Club had contributed over 8,000 pounds of vegetables that our volunteers cared for, from seed to donation! Additionally, volunteers have aided in other maintenance projects that benefit the garden as a whole, such as the construction of wooden compost bins, the painting of picnic tables and buildings, and clean-up at the end of each growing season. By now, Ben Franklin has a special place in our volunteers' hearts, and we look forward to returning each year!
Our fifth growing season with Ben Franklin is in full swing, and each season M.A.D. Club teams up with some friends to sponsor the Hunger Gardens. Sponsoring one Hunger Garden costs $40, and with this, our volunteers will plant, care for, and harvest vegetables for the hungry in your name. Your donation goes a very long way in feeding someone without food and adds to the 8,000 pounds of vegetables we've already harvested. The name of someone who has sponsored a Hunger Garden is written on a sign that is placed next to the garden he or she sponsored, and sponsors receive a certificate and updates throughout the growing season on progress from the garden he or she sponsored.
This time next year, all of our piles of donations will have been weighed and delivered to the hunger centers, and some of them could be from a garden that was sponsored by you! If you are interested in sponsoring a hunger garden for this growing season or the next, contact us!
SCHEDULE YOUR TEAM OR GROUP SERVICE DAY
Are you a member or coach of a sports team? Are you a part of a Church group or organization? Are you looking for an activity for your team or group to do to give back and bond? Say no more! We've hosted several team and group service days. Come make a difference with us!
JOIN OUR BFCG VOLUNTEER LIST
Don't have a M.A.D. Club chapter at your school or organization and still want to join our mission? Join our volunteer list to hear about opportunities to help out at Ben Franklin and get involved in other M.A.D. Club projects!