Taking root: Nonprofit relaunches community garden in Noblesville


A group of volunteers have joined forces to reestablish a community garden in Noblesville that will provide fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs to area residents.

The garden, near Southside Park at Pleasant and Third streets, was formerly used by students from Ivy Tech Community College and nonprofit organizations such as the Girl Scouts of Central Indiana, said Jason Hand, a Noblesville resident who is one of the individuals spearheading the revival of the garden. A nonprofit, the Noblesville Community Garden Project, was formed and will oversee the garden, according to Hand, who said the organization signed a three-year lease agreement with the city earlier this year.

“Forty percent of the gardening space will be utilized to grow vegetables for the community aimed at reducing food instability in the neighborhoods near the garden. The remaining 60 percent garden plots will be allotted to gardeners interested in renting a plot

for their own vegetable production,” Hand said.

The community garden, however, won’t be limited to fruit, vegetables and herbs. An existing pollinator garden will be supplemented with additional native plants. Planting flowers will increase the honeybee population near the garden that should increase future harvests, according to Hand.

Monica Willhoite, director of the Noblesville Community Garden Project, said the organization’s goal is to get the site back up and running. Willhoite, who also lives in Noblesville, said the garden is important because many people have access to shelf-stable foods, but noted that fresh produce is not always accessible.

“Especially with prices the way they are right now, this allows local families to have fresh produce,” she said.

When the community garden is developed, a fresh produce stand will be available to allow visitors to take any items they need. A community clean-up day was held April 22 at the garden site, while another day dedicated to community planting is planned for 9 a.m. May 6, according to Wilhoite.

Hand said he looks forward to the opportunity to serve the community by providing fresh fruit and vegetables, especially as downtown Noblesville continues to grow with the development of apartments in the area. Hand, who has lived in Noblesville for 45 years, said he particularly enjoys being able to give back to others.

“I think it makes Noblesville a nicer place to live and it’s a great way to meet people in the community,” he said. “Community gardens serve as a priceless resource, not only for the food cultivation, but for the camaraderie and socialization that occurs when community members meet while gardening.”

Hand said the nonprofit is looking to raise about $1,300 as it continues to develop the garden to cover expenses such as water and other costs associated with the site.

“We need funding as we look ahead for next year,” Hand said.

Noblesville philanthropist Rocky Shanehsaz, who owns Mill Top Banquet and Conference Center in Noblesville, gave the nonprofit $1,200 earlier this year. That funding will be used to cover a liability insurance policy and access to city water for the 2023 season, according to Hand.

Hand said he hopes other volunteers from different organizations and students will contribute their time to make the community garden a success. In addition, he hopes the site will also serve as an educational outlet for elementary schools in the area.

“It’s just a way to relate to others,” Hand said.

CIN COVER 0502 Community Garden 6
Monica Wilhoite, director of the Noblesville Community Garden Project, examines the ground on the site of where a community garden will be developed. The garden near Southside Park at Pleasant and Third streets will provide fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs to area residents. (Photo by Adam Seif)

How to help

The Noblesville Community Garden Project will host a community planting day beginning at 9 a.m. May 6. The garden is near Southside Park at Pleasant and 3rd streets in Noblesville. To learn more about the community garden, volunteering opportunities or renting a garden plot, email [email protected] or visit facebook.com/groups/noblesvillegarden.