History

Garden History

The Fairbanks Community Garden started about 1979 when The Alaskan Federation for Community Self-reliance, Inc. received a free lease of land from Fern Palfy, who owned the land where the present Borough Office Building sits. The Community Garden sprouted and flourished in this location for several seasons.

In 1983, Ms. Palfy’s heirs were able to get court appointed approval to sell the land when she became senile. A deal was made with Dick Fischer, a land developer from Anchorage, to buy the land. Mr. Fischer made a deal with then Borough Mayor Allen to build the present Borough Office Building and lease it back to the Borough for several years.

The Community Gardeners were notified in July of 1983 that everything on the property would have to go. John Kent, the President of the Federation at that time, was able to use the threat of a lawsuit (we had a binding verbal agreement with Ms. Palfy) to hold things up. In order to avoid any delay, the developer paid the Federation several thousand dollars. This money was later used to move all our buildings to the present Garden Site.

In 1983, we moved from Pioneer Street to our current location in Hamilton Acres, where our present 2.5 acre site is leased to us free from the Borough. We did receive a one time State Grant of $20,000 which was used to clear land, install electricity, put in the well, buy the fence, and generally prepare the gardening site for use.
Today, the Fairbanks community Garden is an entity in it’s own right. When the original 10 year lease was up, the gardeners got together, formed their own nonprofit organization, and re-leased the land. The Garden is currently run through 3 elected officials and is funded by the collection of plot fees each spring.

The above information was provided by Dick Farris during the February 1994 garden meeting.


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