Thursday, May 19, 2011

An Orchard For An Abandoned Place

Our Turley and North Tulsa, Oklahoma community is competing for a forty tree fruit tree orchard. Our organization A Third Place Community Foundation has been selected to be in a national online voting competition by the National Fruit Tree Foundation and Edy's Fruit Bars. Five orchards a month will be awarded to communities receiving the top votes in the contest. We want to win in the first round that ends May 31. Vote for us every day at Many in our area do not have internet access so please vote on their behalf.

Our volunteer group raised $15,000 last summer to purchase a city block on North Johnstown Ave. and N. 60th St. overlooking downtown Tulsa where it is building The Welcome Table Community KitchenGardenPark on the site where abandoned houses once stood. The project is called the "Miracle Among The Ruins." Purchasing the site was the first miracle, getting the rundown eyesore homes removed was the next, and the fruit tree orchard will be another miracle on this site. The orchard is vitally needed not only to beautify the area and help complete the park as an asset in an area with few public amenities, but to add to the healthy food needs of the residents in our 74126 zipcode.

A recent nutritional survey conducted by the OU Graduate Social Work students and the A Third Place Community Foundation revealed the following statistics about health and nutrition in our area: ...55 percent worry about the amount of food they have ...6 percent use spoiled food ...29 percent use a food pantry ...31 percent receive food from church ...35 percent borrow food from family ...25 percent borrow food from friends ...25 percent adults skip entire day from eating ...29 percent adults skip meals ...26 percent did not eat and are hungry at time of survey ...43 percent eat less than they should ...60 percent eat low cost foods ...52 percent cannot afford nutritious meals ...57 percent run out of food ...60 percent cannot afford healthy food...29 percent have no affordable source of food in community ...63 percent know about a food pantry ,..56 percent rate the food quality in Turley area as fair or poor ...59 percent indicate food in Turley area expensive or very expensive relative to budget...56 percent not currently healthy ...41 percent health is fair or poor ...54 percent are overweight ...66 percent should weigh less ...47 percent smoke or use other tobacco.

A Third Place Community Foundation, a new 501c3 organization made up of volunteers with all funds going to mission, runs not only The Welcome Table park but also has recently purchased a large old historic abandoned church building at 5920 N. Owasso Ave. and is reclaiming and reopening it as The Welcome Table Community Center with free internet and computer center, library, game and meeting and program space, food pantry, 12 step recovery group, clothing giveaway, prayer and meditation room, and classrooms for a health hub. The center has now reopened on a part time basis in its first phase of remodelling. The ministry also runs the area free summer lunch meal program at Cherokee School for all under 18 year old, and do environmental reclaiming and promotion of native wildflower plants in this region at schools and public sites. A Third Place Community Foundation is also involved with the McLain High School Initiative, Cherokee School, OU Community Health Worker project, and other events and items as part of its mission of "renewing community, empowering residents, growing healthy lives and neighborhoods" through small acts of justice done with great love. For more on the group and area and to donate go to Or call 9186913223.

Below you can find all the links to the moving videos and the news clips and articles and design documents and more on our Welcome Table Community KitchenGardenPark in the North Tulsa and Turley area where our orchard will go if we win one in the national online competition.

The most recent news story from channel eight: the clip shows us clearing the kitchengardenpark not the school though we had been planting there the day before, and the park and the orchard will be in a place where children walk by to school and families without cars on their way to the grocery store.

The Channel Six news story is at

For the OU social work students moving video about the place and the need for the project and for your donations, go to .

For the OU Design Studio on what it will look like go to

For the background on why we are doing this community transformation project here go to

and to

For the bigger connect the dots link on how we have plans for all of our Four Directions area of Tulsa North and Turley go to