by Anne Snell
Did you know the HSRC has a garden? That’s right! Just to the East of the building are 7 rows of soil, and two raised beds. (Or, if you’re directionally challenged like me, the side with the 30-minute parking spots.) There is also a mini orchard which includes dwarf-sized fruit trees like fig, apple, pear, and persimmon. The garden began in the 2016-2017 school year as part of the Growing Food Security Initiative between the HSRC and the Student Sustainability Initiative (SSI).
If it doesn’t look like much now, it’s because this will actually be the garden’s first year producing a full season of crops! It takes time for well-producing gardens to form. The Organic Growers Club grew the starts from seed to help us save money. This also helps make sure we get the varieties people want to eat. The soil conditions are constantly improving, so in a few years, they will be even more nutrient rich than they are now. More nutrients in the soil means more produce!
This year the garden, which is mostly managed by the SSI, is growing vegetables like Swiss chard, tomatoes, kale, tomatillos, bell peppers, carrots, beets, squash, and garlic. Everything grown in the garden is harvested directly for the HSRC’s Shopping Style Food Pantry nights or Fresh Food Friday. Production is slow right now, but come summer, and into the fall, we will have vegetables galore!
The HSRC Community Garden isn’t just for providing fresh produce to the food pantry. It is also a learning environment, where students can get their hands dirty and help grow the food harvested from the garden. In the future we hope students can engaged in the process of growing food, both so they can give back to their community, but also so they can learn the skills required to grow your own food for themselves. The community garden we have is small, and still very young, but growin’ strong!