Hamilton County SWCD in Indiana
Hamilton County is not just the fastest growing county in Indiana – it neighbors Indianapolis and is home to several of the state’s largest cities. The Hamilton Soil and Water Conservation District has served the county and its urban land owners through its Backyard Conservation Program for years. Now, as a 2016 awardee of NACD’s Urban Agriculture Conservation Grants Initiative, the district is providing on-site technical assistance to residents as they develop and maintain urban food plots.
Hamilton SWCD offers technical assistance to residents in many forms, including instruction on how to use soil health practices like no-till and cover crops, and how to manage nutrients, water, and pests effectively. The district is also developing partnerships within the county to encourage established or developing community gardens – as well as individual gardeners – to donate portions of their yields to local food banks through the “Hamilton County Garden Network.”
The network’s website and quarterly meetings provide residents with tips for using conservation practices, as well as development courses on grants and garden management. New partnerships with health and housing development organizations have been forged through the district’s urban agriculture program expansion, too, and in coordination with several smaller food pantries, the district created a “take home a garden” program where tomato or pepper container gardens are opened to food pantries.
For more information on Hamilton SWCD’s work to curb food insecurity in their community, visit their website: www.hamiltonswcd.org. If you would like to see your district’s conservation project featured in eResource, contact Director of Communications Whitney Forman-Cook.