Continuing on from the Empty Lot downtown story shared in December. This is part of the team that has been working to transform a vacant lot “into a verdant, multisensory urban oasis designed to spark joy, learning, reflection, connection, and fun”. Words of Jill Wells, gal who is 2nd on the left. Following are more of her thoughts on this project.
We are living in fractured, isolated times. Every day it seems that there is a new issue that deepens our divide. What if we could take this moment in time, and the space we’ve been given, to focus on what unites us?
Nature unites us in a way very little else does. Nature provides the water we drink, the food we eat, the air we breathe, the climate we live in. We have one community, and we all share in its future.
Land and history connect us. There were once prairies with a mosaic of grasses, flowers, insects, birds, and bison here. Indigenous people who lived on this land long before European settlement knew the value of a seed. The upper Missouri River tribes grew, harvested, and celebrated the cosmology of the Four Sisters (corn, bean, squash, and sunflower) here. What was that experience like? We invite visitors to interact with native plants not as artifacts but as living connections to generations now gone.
When Warren Distribution removed the building that once stood at 13th and Leavenworth, a space opened up that Janis Regier, Executive Director of Clinical Solutions at Natural Therapy, started to imagine as a small garden or green space. After all, it was right across the street. The Schlott family liked the idea. She grew flowers and food and wondered if there was more potential if others got involved.
So, she asked… and an unusual coalition was born. No More Empty Pots and The Nature Conservancy brought ideas. Not long after that, Kinghorn Gardens stepped up to create a landscape design. PTP Integration started to work on digital aspects of the project. Creighton Professor and President of Sacred Seed LLC, contributed knowledge of tribal geography and indigenous seeds. Bemis lent their artistic vision. For most of the group, it was the first time encountering the other members. Over a series of conversations, a shared vision emerged.