The following gardens graduated from our community gardens programs in 2014. Congratulations, and we can’t wait to see how your gardens grow in 2015!
Lawrenceville Organic Community Garden: McCandless Ave
The McCandless Ave garden experienced a total transformation this season. The ever-present group of spunky neighborhood kids painted colorful panels to hang along the fence and crafted mosaic stepping stones to place in the strawberry bed. Handy garden organizers constructed a beautiful cedar arbor for trellising concord grapes. In mid-summer, residents and passersby alike would slow down in their cars or pause on the sidewalk to wonder at the unbelievably large nasturtium and the Dr. Seuss-like chard plant that grew over six feet tall.
2015 goals: host more kids’ art events, plant lots of potatoes, and create educational signage
Amity Harvest Community Garden, Homestead
The Homestead garden received a lot of positive press this season, highlighting community and youth participation. Students from the Homestead Youth project painted a vibrant mural on the shed, volunteers planted a brand new orchard of fruit trees, and (as always) the delicious food-themed garden events drew in numerous residents and visitors. Thanks to the hard work gardeners spent putting the garden to bed– they planted garlic, spread amendments, and covered beds in a healthy layer of straw–next season should be more productive than ever.
2015 goals: Attract more community volunteers, finish the shed mural, establish roles for the community garden committee
The garden grew more than 2,000 lbs of produce this season, all donated to the local food pantry that serves up to 150 families weekly. Over the past couple of years the garden has contributed to building relationships with: local boy and girls scouts, RMU student volunteers, local businesses, neighbors walking past the garden. This year, gardeners worked with an eagle scout to build an arbor and a walkway connecting the front and back yards of the property.
2015 goals: designate volunteers to lead work days, build volunteer network of students and community groups, solicit donations from local businesses
“The garden to me is a symbol of flourishing. It’s about a small group of people who see things differently and believe in the transformation of a town that many only see as a place to drive through.” -Randon Willard, Coraopolis Community Development Foundation and Garden Committee Member
Boxy Caufield Memorial Garden, Allegheny YMCA (Northside)
The YMCA has more than 100 residents and one microwave in which they can cook meals. Having fresh, organic, healthy, food from the garden over the past 2 years has been ground breaking. The garden has been a place to learn new skills, work together, experience peace and quiet, share stories, share food, and engage with new people. For the annual thanksgiving dinner this year, they cooked up 60+ pounds of greens harvested and preserved throughout the growing season which fed dozens. Dexter Hairston, Community Resource Development Director, Allegheny YMCA shared during our recent wrap up meeting that seeing even 2 or 5 men participate – if it creates opportunity for healthy living and participation in a self driven project it’s worth it.
2015 goals: continue engaging with residents, members and neighbors, streamline communication, continue regular celebrations and events in the garden