Veteran breaks ground on new community garden


TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa’s north side will soon grow an even deeper sense of community. That’s the hope of a retired veteran, former Tulsa police officer, and native north Tulsan Dean Finley.

Finley’s non-profit, No Forgotten Child, now has ownership of one acre of land located at 303 East 31 Street North. That will be the new home for a community garden called Common Ground.

“When we squared this land, I thought to myself we just need to give back to the community and what better way to do that than through agriculture,” Finley said. “Everyone will be able to come and grow from the inside out.”

The plot of land has sat undisturbed for decades. Niketa Tates’s family has lived by the plot for the last 22 years.

“Nothing has been on the property the entire time we have lived here,” Tate said.

Like Finley, she has been born and raised in north Tulsa which, also for decades, has been known as a food desert. An area that has little to no access to fresh produce or close grocery stores.

“Grocery stores are very far from here, we don’t have anywhere to get fresh produce. It’s very sad,” Tate said.

Finley hopes Common Ground will serve as a mini-epicenter for emotional, behavior, educational, and economic growth for those who use it. He said it will offer everything from indoor and outdoor gardening classes, cooking, cheese making, and canning classes along with a small produce store on site.

“It’s time for our community to step up and if we want it we can have it,” Tate said. “All we need is the community to come together to help this grow.”

Finley said once the ground dries up a bit from all the rain Tulsa has had over the last few days, a crew will come in to start leveling the area by removing the trees and bushes. If you would like to volunteer your time, tools, or organization, call 918-574-5496.

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