Partners for a Hunger-Free York County: Pierson's Lane Garden
Partners for a Hunger-Free York County(PfHFYC), is a coalition of organizations and individuals working to eradicate hunger and malnutrition in York County, Maine, and to increase and improve access to fresh, healthy food and education about how to integrate these into everyday diets. PfHFYC holds regular network meetings and special events, and initiates and coordinates community-based projects. The PfHFYC Pierson's Lane garden adjoins a playground in a low-income neighborhood in urban Biddeford and is entering its third program year of serving youth aged 6-17 who are at risk of being food insecure. Since 2012, the garden project has been growing, with kids from partner programs and from the surrounding community gravitating each day to the garden to learn about growing their own food. Volunteers from Saco Bay Garden Club, University of New England, and Master Gardeners helped the kids learn basic plant botany, amending the soil, plant seeds, and build trellises for climbing vegetables. The kids decided to name the garden "The Helping Friends Garden", and planted and harvested kale, golden boy cherry tomatoes and cukes right off the vine, bringing extra home to families. The kids prepared meals with the food they grew under instruction from Cooking Matters/UNE. Excess vegetables were delivered to a soup kitchen.
Our 2014 goal is to increase yield by increasing the size of the garden. This will include building a 24'X6' vertical trellis for climbing cukes, squash and beans, and larger raised beds from 2'X4' to 3'X6'. The city will install a new water spigot close to the garden making watering easier.
This garden is a highlight of the summer for many kids. One 10 year old girl was thrilled when she learned her family was moving across the street. She was so happy to be able to keep an eye on her garden.
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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