Here For Connections: Great Parks Hosts First Urban Farming Festival

August 28th marked Great Parks’ first Urban Farming Festival – a free event that celebrated local communities and connected people to nature through hands-on activities, art and music. This year, we highlighted the city of Roselawn, home to Great Parks’ Nature Center at the Summit.

Despite the blazing heat, hundreds of residents showed up to learn about urban farming and support local entertainment and vendors. Sarah Kent, the creator of this event and Outreach Manager for the Nature Center, spent two years brainstorming a festival that would combine sustainable living with community flavor. And that’s exactly what she achieved, proving that Roselawn is a well-hidden gem within Hamilton County, filled with culture, spirit and opportunity.

Exhibits focused on creating sustainable urban environments and included goats and chickens – which can be raised in an urban area, sunflowers – which help clean the soil and a community garden – available to all Roselawn residents.

Guests also enjoyed local food as well as a s’mores station, decompressed through yoga and meditation in a mindfulness tent, and put their artistic mark on a 300-foot mural designed by local artist Benedict Scheuer. Nature interpreters hosted mini-hikes through the woods and indoor and outdoor craft and activity stations sparked the imagination and friendly competition.

The festival is the first of its kind for Great Parks and is one of many efforts to foster community connections within urban communities and engage all residents regardless of background and abilities. Other initiatives include local outreach, virtual field trips, sensory-friendly programming, multilingual signage and Great Parks’ Parks@Home an initiative designed to bring the parks to residents wherever they are through online crafts, videos, blogs, Facebook Lives and more.

As Great Parks continues to expand its efforts to reach urban communities, residents can expect fun and unexpected opportunities to connect to nature and each other, and celebrate the intersectionality those opportunities bring.