In the summer of 2010, FEA employed 20 English Avenue residents (mostly youth) to clean up their community. Block by block, street by street, the Summer Clean-Up Crew picked up trash, hauled out tires, cut back overgrowth on vacant lots, mowed yards, and trimmed sidewalks.
According to the Department of Solid Waste, our Clean-Up Crew was responsible for removing 125.6 tons of trash and 400 tires from the community in an 8-week period.
The results of the Summer Clean-Up went way beyond improving the physical appearance of the neighborhood. Removing litter and overgrowth:
- beautifies the community
- reduces criminal behavior
- gives residents pride, instead of fear, walking down their street.
- Employing teens for the summer kept them out of trouble, taught them the importance of hard work and responsibility, and have them work experience.
The Summer Clean-Up Crew was recognized and awarded by the Atlanta City Council for their clean-up efforts, which address public safety through beautification.
According to the American Journal of Public Health (Col. 93, No. 3, 2003), crime is higher on vacant properties because a neglected and disorderly physical environment signals to residents that prohibited behaviors are tolerated. Disorder in the physical environment (high percentage of boarded-up homes, litter, graffiti) is associated with crime because it sends a message that no one cares. This is the cycle we are working to break by reclaiming vacant lots and transforming them into lush growing spaces.
FEA regularly cleans up the streets around its urban farm, and regular clean-up initiatives are performed on a bi-weekly basis. Contact Friends of English Avenue to sign up to volunteer for a Street Clean-Up: 678-385-7091 or FOEA@gdp.com