Gardens for Everyone project teaches residents to grow and prepare vegetables

Posted October 6, 2020 6:43 a.m. EDT
Updated October 6, 2020 9:02 a.m. EDT

A new community gardening program is helping families in need learn to grow and cook their own healthy, delicious vegetables.

A few years ago, the Interfaith Food Shuttle established several community gardens, where people plant vegetables side-by-side, to help more families have access to nutritious food.

The Interfaith Food Shuttle's Kay Coleman said, during COVID-19 and social distancing, the community garden project has become more challenging. Their answer is a new, on-the-go initiative called "Gardens for Everyone."

Gardens for Everyone project teaches residents to grow and prepare vegetables

Now, smaller "garden kits," or 4-foot by 8-foot lumber boxes that are 20 inches deep, are filled with soil and plants. Most garden kits are built in someone's backyard, but others are in the parking lots of businesses, like a Durham motel.

Eight otherwise homeless residents are now included in the gardening project thanks to a "Hotel to Home" housing program.

"What we do is we provide a safe and stable place for people to live for 60 to 90 days," said Hotel to Home manager Kate Gonzales.

Now, with the garden kits, people can learn gardening skills while they wait to find a permanent place to live. Garden mentors and volunteers teach the residents how to maintain the garden and keep it fruitful. After harvest, they'll learn how to prepare meals with the vegetables.

According to Coleman, each box costs about $200, which includes the box, the soil, the plants and education materials. After that, all that is needed is sunshine and water, she said.

In addition to in-person gardening lessons, the "Gardens for Everyone" program also has video lessons on YouTube.

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