Reimagining Vacant Space: Justin Moore receives ioby’s 2012 award

ioby’s 2012 Heroes in Our Backyards: Reimagining Vacant Space from ioby on Vimeo.

Justin Moore was awarded ioby’s 2012 the Heroes In Our Backyards award.  He was chosen for his work on behalf of a neighborhood gardening project Urban Patch in his home town, the Mapleton-Fall Creek neighborhood of Indianapolis.  Every year, ioby awards project leaders that exemplify the ioby spirit of community activism.  In 2012, three groups were chosen for ioby’s Heroes In Our Backyards award for revitalizing and reimagining vacant urban spaces and Justin Moore was one of the three.

Fall Creek Gardens is located in the Mapleton-Fall Creek neighborhood of Indianapolis.  The neighborhood has many empty homes and vacant lots, some of which have significant contamination from former industrial use and lead exposure.  The Fall Creek community garden is located on land that the city has designated as a brownfield, which means that the land must be capped with mulch and any gardening done in raised beds.  By turning these formerly vacant lots into organic gardens, the neighborhood volunteeers not only created a beautiful space, but also a place for neighbors to meet, interact, learn, and grow fresh produce.

The other two groups awarded were the People’s Garden in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn, NY, and the movement of leaders who have activated vacant lots throughout NYC with the support and organizing infrastructure of 596 Acres.

ioby is an environmental nonprofit organization. Their name is derived from the opposite of NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) and their mission is to strengthen civic engagement in cities by connecting individuals directly to community-led, neighbor-funded environmental projects in their neighborhoods. They provide this service primarily through a web-based crowd-resourcing platform.

Crowd-resourcing is a made-up word combining the concepts of crowd-funding (the ability to pool small donations made online to a specific cause or project) and resource organizing (a core tenet of community organizing that considers activists and advocates the best supporters to ensure financial sustainability of a cause or project).

ioby as an organization enables ordinary people to invest in their neighborhoods and connect them with resources.  The project pages on ioby.org aren’t glamorous, there are no celebrities, no large-scale protests.  There are everyday neighbors taking small steps—bringing sunlight, green open spaces and fresh food into our backyards.

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