2011: Planning for the One World Garden begins…

In 2012 the Cornell Rust2Green Utica university-community partnership worked with Utica’s Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees (MVRCR) to secure a $49K planning grant from the Open Spaces Sacred Places (OSSP) Program of Baltimore’s TKF Foundation. This was the first step towards transforming 3 vacant City-owned lots on Park Avenue into a new public space dedicated to multi-cultural diversity, inclusion and creative expression.

2012: Co-creating a Design Vision for One World Garden

With the OSSP planning grant in hand, the next step was design as a year-long community-engaged participatory design process got underway. This was led by an interdisciplinary design and research team of faculty and students from Cornell, MWPratt, Empire College and the Ringling College of Art & Design. Design sessions and dialogues– attended by local residents, artists, and representatives of Utica’s refugee community, among others–happened at the Utica Library.  A buildable design plan was created and represented with illustrative visuals, technical specifications and cost estimates.  Also created was an accompanying 3-year research plan focused on studying the garden’s impacts, once built, on both its users and neighborhood surroundings.

Late 2012: Getting selected as an OSSP finalist!

Late in 2012, the completed One World Garden plans were submitted to the TKF Foundation to support both its construction and research phases through the OSSP program. One World Garden’s nearly $2M proposal, which TKF recognized as exemplar, went on to be selected as one of ten nationwide finalists. During a site visit to Utica by the entire TKF Foundation and their own team of experts, the One World Garden team enthusiastically presented the plans.

2013 to 2018: Forging ahead to realize One World Garden with $1.4 Million from New York State!

Unfortunately, in early 2013, when TKF’s final awards were announced,  Utica learned the One World Garden was not among them. Since that time, however, Cornell’s Rust2Green (R2G) partnership has been working hard to secure funding for the garden’s construction. By late 2016, R2G’s learned its efforts had paid off when it secured, for the City, over $600K in Phase One funds, from NYS Parks. By 2018, R2G had secured a second major grant from the NYS Environmental Protection Fund. This means that there is now a total of  $1.4M coming from NYS funds to enabling the One World Garden to move ahead!