The plot of land where the old Alaska Native Medical Center used to be near Ship Creek is getting a makeover.

The 10-acre tract of land at Third Avenue and Ingra Street has been vacant since the hospital came down in 1992. While the overall plan for the entire space is still being discussed, the University of Alaska Anchorage and the Alaska Food Policy Council hope to bring new life to a piece of the property with an urban farm.

Following a crowdfunding campaign that has already raised more than $2,300, volunteers installed nine raised beds for plant crops next spring. Beds will be filled with soil at a work party Saturday at noon. Even though the ground is a little hard and there's a layer of snow on top, UAA professor Micah Hahn says they're ready to plant at least one crop.

"We're going to be planting some garlic that was grown in Homer," Hahn said. "If you plant it in the fall, it's kind of exciting because it'll be the first thing to see in the spring with the scapes coming up and it's kind of a nice introduction after the snow has melted."

The size of the farm will depend on full plans for the entire site. For now, the food that's grown will be shared among volunteers.

Liz Hodges Snyder, a UAA professor and member of the Alaska Food Policy Council, says they'd like to share more and go bigger in the future.

"If we can donate it to organizations around the city, that would be a great goal for us," she said.

Snyder says she's excited for spring so the group can plant other items like leafy greens and traditional food sources.

Those who'd like to help are welcome to join the work part at noon on Saturday or contribute to the project's Kickstarter campaign.

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