Gearing Up For Spring: An Interview with Ambassador Linda Piso

Next month, 7 projects in Hilltop neighborhoods will begin to see new life through ReClaim South: Sustaining Momentum. Enhancements planned over the next few months at Ambassadors’ sites range from new gardening beds to community celebrations.  Before things get too crazy, we had a chance to sit down with Ambassador Linda Piso and talk about her plans for the 30/32 Grape Street Garden.


GTECH: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what motivates you to make a difference in your community?

ReClaim South Ambassador Linda Piso

Linda: I grew up in my community and left as all young people did back in the day. When I returned to care for my aging parents, I noticed the decline in the neighborhood and felt the need to stay there and try to do something positive in the neighborhood. Knoxville gets a bad rap in the media and the information scares a lot of people. If I can bring just a little bit of beauty to an empty lot, maybe feed a few neighbors and show that with a little work we can take back our neighborhood, maybe another and then another will do the same and we can build a sense of community – which is how Knoxville always was when I was growing up.

GTECH: What was your site like before your participation in the original ReClaim South project?

Linda’s garden waiting to be harvested

Linda: My site was originally, before GTECH arrived to assist, a rodent infested lot where people were selling, buying and using drugs near the back ally. ReClaim South opened the doors to an opportunity for cleaning it up, and planting fresh food, and pretty flowers. It is now a space where neighbors will sit and read the paper or a book, meet and talk, help weed the beds and share food. Kids became involved in the hard heavy work and the older people enjoy the solitude they find there.

GTECH: What are you looking forward to adding to your project this spring and who are you partnering with to do so?

Linda: I am looking forward to growing the food and sharing it in a more educational way – through canning and preserving. My partner will be the Knoxville Library, and hopefully the Penn State Extension program.

The 30/32 Grape Street Garden last fall with a new Little Free Library

GTECH: How can people get involved with the 30/32 Grape Street Garden?

Linda: Stop on by in the evenings during the week or on the weekend and lend a helping hand or just visit and have a glass of lemonade and a little community conversation. You can also stop by our first volunteer day on Saturday, May 14th.


Do you want to learn more about how you can get involved with more ReClaim South: Sustaining Momentum sites or some of the many other projects GTECH is planning? Check out our events calendar to find out how you can lend a hand this spring and help people like Linda beautify their communities.

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