3000 Pounds and Counting!
In 2014, the garden at St. Vincent DePaul was awarded a grant from Kitchen Gardeners International. The money and gift certificates were put to good use in furthering the construction and maintenance of the gardens for the charity at their main campus at 420 W. Watkins St in Phoenix, AZ.
In late 2013 the society offered us to use a 1.5 acre site that was vacant, and only used occasionally for overflow parking. My friend Tony Kasowski and I begin building garden beds, and planting vegetables. All of the produce is used by the central kitchen at this St. Vincent location. The kitchen produces meals for five Phoenix area dining rooms, and also assembles emergency food boxes. During the past several months, Tony and I coordinated this project, which is 100% volunteer based. All monies spent at this garden have been through donations of our volunteers.
The grant from Kitchen Gardener’s has gone a long way assisting what we are doing. The heirloom seeds were planted, or saved for the next planting season depending on the variety. The grant from Gardener’s.com was used to purchase much needed hand tools.
The $300 grant was used to purchase materials to build a watering system. We were able to have pipes built around the site so that we could access faucets. In the beginning, we only had two taps to serve the entire area. We were also able to purchase new hoses and sprayers so that we could water our plants much more efficiently.
The project has been a success, and during the spring season we were able to harvest over 3,000 pounds of produce for the kitchen at St. Vincent. By proving ourselves worthy of grant assistance, we were also able to receive donations of chicken pellet fertilizer from a local business, and also plants and seeds from local nurseries. We have also begun a compost operation for a local juicing company that has been a supporter of our work by sending us volunteers on a regular basis.
The coming autumn will be a very productive time. The growing season in Phoenix is primarily during the cool months, and we will be in excellent shape to take advantage of it.
We very much appreciate the role Kitchen Gardener’s International has played in helping us grow and become productive at the St. Vincent garden. We look forward to a continuing partnership with your organization.
KGI is a nonprofit community of over 30,000 people who are growing some of our own food and helping others to do the same.
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