Artichoke Bliss: an underground urban gardening experiment in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward

Artichoke Bliss community garden on Edgewood Avenue in Sweet Auburn

Atlanta community garden Artichoke Bliss is putting down roots in this vacant lot near the corner of Edgewood and Boulevard Avenues (with great downtown Atlanta views!). This was week six of the project on Saturday, December 19, 2009.

Actually, the words “underground” and “experiment” don’t really accurately describe what’s developing in an empty lot on Edgewood Avenue in Atlanta’s historic Old Fourth Ward District. This young, urban garden is actively growing in broad daylight. Thanks to a small army of local volunteers that come out every Saturday afternoon to help build raised garden beds, mulch paths, and build benches, this patch of dirt is taking shape. So what’s the story behind this urban garden project? First of all, the garden’s name is Artichoke Bliss. Second, Artichoke Bliss is the brain child of Angel Poventud and Haylee Richardson with the support of Eli Dickerson.

After frequenting Dynamic Dish next door (a small restaurant which feature local farms and a platinum LEED-certified building), the vacant lot captured their imagination and the vision to transform it into a usable space. They set to work with shovels and mulch piles which in turn piqued the curiosity of the neighbors who came out to see what was going on. Angel and Haylee established a regular meeting time of 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. every Saturday for volunteers to come together and create their own community garden. On the Saturday that I joined Angel and Robby (of Trees Atlanta) for a quick lunch at Dynamic Dish and an overview of Artichoke Bliss, nearly one dozen volunteers were hard at work. That may not seem like much, but for a community garden that’s only six weeks old, that’s not too bad!

Of course, locals have raised the question of who the land actually belongs to and Angel has done his research. The space used to be an old parking lot belonging to historic Ebeneezer Church down the block, but has since become overgrown. Contact with administrators at Ebeneezer was met with little interest or no response. Even a slightly miffed neighbor and congregation member who came out to make it clear the lot belonged to Ebeneezer was met with little reaction from the church. She has since been converted into an Artichoke Bliss fan and embraces the positive impact for the community.

If you get the chance, stop by and check out the progress! Or grab a shovel on Saturday afternoons. You can also find out more on Angel’s facebook page or Eli’s blog where they are both very active in keeping everyone up-to-date. You can also see more photos and get volunteer information by becoming a fan of Artichoke Bliss on facebook!

And while you’re in the area, be sure to check out the Historic Fourth Ward Park taking shape along the Atlanta BeltLine! The park runs south from below City Hall East and you can walk that section of the BeltLine path, which is open to the public.

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Comments
3 Responses to “Artichoke Bliss: an underground urban gardening experiment in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward”
  1. Eli Dickerson wrote on facebook:
    actually I just piggy-backed on what Hayley and Angel were doing, but it’s rad none-the-less!
    Also there’s an Artichoke Bliss FB group- join us!

  2. Angel Poventud wrote on facebook:
    Great write up Jenny. I will add a little back history here as well. David from Dynamic Dish and I had been having conversations about the space for over a year, but it took Hayley Richardson reaching out to get me involved. The name, Artichoke Bliss, and the passion, it came from Hayley. The rest of us have all joined along to help make the space what it has become in such a short amount of time. I can’t wait to see the trees that are getting planted on Monday. Thanks again.

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