Land is the Basis of Food Sovereignty
Getting land into the hands of community members to grow food and enjoy green space is good for residents, for our city, and for the environment!
*NOTE – the Landbank has recently undergone an internal racial equity review process and adopted changes to its disposition programs. Review the changes here.
Here are steps for acquiring vacant lots from the Landbank Authority in Louisville:
Step One: Find Owner and Research the Site
Step Two: Community Visioning and Planning
Step Three: Prepare Application Materials
Step Four: Turn in an Application to Purchase or Lease Vacant Land to the Office of Community Development (if applying through Landbank)
To apply for funding for the purchase of vacant land in Louisville, complete the application below and return it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Accessing Vacant Land to Grow Food: The GUIDE
FIN created this Land Access Guide to support Louisville residents who want to access vacant property to grow food. If you are interested in accessing land and want support, please email email@example.com.
We are happy to help you navigate the outlined process by connecting you to local resources and working with you to find answers and solutions. We look forward to learning together as we continue building a comprehensive database of community resources.
Amanda Fuller purchased five contiguous vacant lots from the Land Bank in 2013 to establish Lots of Food on 1/3 acre. The Lots include an orchard of almonds & hazelnuts, berries, passion fruit, herbs, fruit trees, pollinator plantings, and 2 beehives.
5th Element Farms
Mariel Gardner bought a vacant lot on South 26th Street in the Parkland neighborhood from the Louisville Landbank in 2018 where she started 5th Element Farms. In 2019, with a grant from the USDA, she built two high tunnels on the lot. Her initial plan was to start a pickle business with her friend, Michael. When COVID-19 hit, they pivoted towards growing food for their neighbors. They have given away about 250 pounds of produce this season.
Mariel and Michael hope to inspire their neighbors to grow their own food, creating a system in which community members divide the labor of growing so that the block can feed itself. They envision 5th Element Farm becoming an educational resource where they can host outdoor classes and model agricultural methods. Mariel and Michael plan to triple the amount they produce next year, adding medicinal herbs to their farm to promote the cognitive, emotional, and physical health of their neighbors. They also plan to buy more lots on the block in order to expand their project, perhaps to start processing on site, develop an aquaponics system (Michael’s specialty), and add additional high tunnels.
For Mariel and Michael, vacant lots are an asset, not a deficit and they are making use of these assets to feed their community.
Learn more about Mariel and 5th Element Farms!
West Louisville Women’s Collaborative
West Louisville Women’s Collaborative (WLWC) was the recipient of the Mayor’s Lots of Possibility Grant 6 years ago–(unfortunately, this program no longer exists). With financial support from the city, WLWC transformed a previously vacant lot into a Peace Labyrinth to allow space for reflection and meditation in response to gun violence. The space doubles as a pollinator garden which supports the food growing boom happening in the West End. A board member of WLWC purchased the adjacent property as well and to create the ELA (Energy, Life, Art) House which now serves as WLWC’s headquarters and a community gathering space. WLWC is currently working to purchase the lot between the Labyrinth and the ELA house. They would also like to purchase the home next door to the Labyrinth in order to start an Artist in Residence program.