Community Servings Plants More Than an Herb Garden

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Community Servings with the help of The Growing Connection planted its first herb garden in 100 feet of planters along the side of its industrial kitchen and nutrition center in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts on June 17. The agency will grow herbs and arugula for its clients' meals and to sell at its new Farmer's Market, which opens on Sunday, July 12. 

The garden, which  includes over a dozen herbs like parsley, sage, oregano, basil and garlic, will be tended by volunteers taking courses through the Boston Natural Areas Network to become Master Urban Gardeners. 

“With the help of The Growing Connection, our seedling donors, and the master urban gardeners who will tend the plantings, this herb garden truly represents ‘community feeding community,’” said David B. Waters, Community Servings’ CEO. “In these tough times, it’s gratifying to find innovative and collaborative ways to feed our clients locally grown foods, engage volunteers, and earn revenue.” And it's gratifying for the TGC Team to partner with organizations that help their clients maintain their health and dignity, preserve the integrity of their families, provide nutritionally and culturally appropriate meals, and send the message that someone cares.  

Community Servings provides free home-delivered meals throughout Eastern Massachusetts to those homebound with HIV/AIDS and other acute life-threatening illnesses. They deliver two daily meals to the 725 individuals and families. Meals are designed to meet the complex dietary requirements of people coping with a devastating illness who are unable to cook for themselves. 

Clients come from very diverse backgrounds and represent many different ethnicities. 90%, however, are living in poverty and can't afford to maintain a proper and balanced diet. 58% are men, 42% are women. Children receive 33% of the meals, and 80% of their caregivers are single parents. 

Community Servings recently expanded its programming to include a food service job training program, a social enterprise initiative and an international program in South Africa. They are continuing efforts to reach Greater Boston’s growing population of people homebound with AIDS, breast cancer, Lupus, kidney disease and other acute, life-threatening illnesses. You can read more about the work of Community Servings online

Special thanks to Edith Murnane and Jessica Welch for article information. 

New Settlement's Bronx Helpers Have Gardens Indoors and Out

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Growing Connection is proud to highlight the exciting work of New Settlement’s Bronx Helpers on our blog. New Settlement’s Bronx Helpers is a community service and youth leadership program for young people in the Bronx, New York and has been a member of TGC for several years.

The aim of their garden project is to expose young people in the Bronx to the issues of food justice and food security. Lessons in science, geography, history and cultural awareness are incorporated into gardening activities to accomplish this.

The garden project is expanding, along with its success. The Bronx Helpers Outdoor Garden now consists of 26 EarthBoxes that thrive with mint, coleus, tomatoes, marigolds and butterfly bush, some favorite plants of Bronx Helpers, in summer! At harvest time teas are made and herbs given as gifts to parents.

Outdoor gardening happens in spring, summer and fall (April to October) and halts during the colder winter months (November to March). An indoor garden was recently created so the project could run year-round!

The new Bronx Helpers Indoor Garden has more than 40 EarthBoxes! In March, participants made a list of the seeds that they wanted to start. It was 30 plants long with herbs, flowers and veggies. Youth participating in this project are shaping this new phase, which was created towards the development of community health. The harvest from the indoor garden will somehow get into the mouths of people.

Whether gardening indoors or outside, participants are defining and experiencing success in different ways -seeing a sprout grow an inch in a week’s time, cooking basil in fresh marinara sauce, donating produce to a local soup kitchen, hosting a stand at a local farmer’s market, or teaching others about their experiences. Watch Bronx Helpers on YouTube and read their blog post at TGC Education Blog

New York is located in the Northeast region of the United States of America. Learn more about this climate from the Northeast Region Climate Center

Special thanks to Jennifer Classon, MSW Bronx Helpers Program Director, for article information.