Monday, June 24, 2013

Our Friends from Maryland Are Making a Difference In Their Community!

2012 Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi/ACGA Grant Program: Giving
Through Growing in Community Gardens Garden Update

Sheridan Street Community Garden: Grant Report
6200 Sheridan St., Riverdale, MD 

The Sheridan
 Street Community Garden is located in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Located in a suburban food desert, our 47-plot garden covers approximately an acre and a half. Most of the garden plots are rented by individuals and 
families that live in the area; one section of the garden is reserved for community groups, such as our local middle school, a youth center, and a tutoring program. The Sheridan Street Community Garden serves as a center for garden education, hosting regular free workshops on gardening topics such as organic pet control and cover crops. The educational events serve our gardeners as well as other community gardeners in the county, Master Gardeners, and students from the University of Maryland. Overall, hundreds of local residents are involved in our garden each year.

The Sheridan Street Community Garden serves a racially and socioeconomically diverse population that is deeply involved in the operations of the garden. Approximately 45% of our participants are African American, 45% are Caucasian, and 10% are Latino. The garden is supported by the University of Maryland Extension but is governed by the gardeners themselves, who lead workdays, plan community- building events, help maintain common areas, and ensure the guidelines are followed.

Several passionate gardeners have led the effort to start a food donation program through our community garden. This grant has allowed this vision to become a reality. Since receiving the grant, we have cultivated a relationship with a food pantry located 2 blocks away, called SEED Inc. The main staff contact at the food pantry is now a part of our garden community, and serves as a conduit for taking food donations from our garden to the pantry. 

Already this year, our gardeners have provided lettuce, onions, and potatoes and we received reports that the food pantry recipients were grateful for this fresh food, as the pantry mostly supplies processed foods.

Money was spent to buy much-needed tools and supplies for our garden, including a scale to weigh produce donations. We’ve also used the money to provide a scholarship for one of our gardeners to take our county’s Master Gardener Training Program, and now she is engaged in training her fellow community gardeners. We’ve also purchased tools to help support other area gardens. It is our hope that many more gardens in our county will develop relationships with food pantries.

Our gardeners have also recently completed installation of a communal herb garden. 

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