Sorry we haven’t updated the blog in FOREVER, but it’s making a come-back!
There are a lot of exciting things going on at the garden right now and as we think into the future.
This past season we focused on gaining momentum and creating new ties with those in and outside the Bennett community. We were joined by a few new Swarthmore students and were reunited with all the regular garden-frequenters from the Bennett. Together with the CHA, we also joined forces with Urban Tree Connection (UTC), a non-profit organization that runs community gardens in West Philadelphia.
We had a slow beginning of the season because there wasn’t much going on over the summer, but we were able to plant and harvest some hearty fall and winter greens like broccoli, brussel sprouts, and kale. The broccoli and sprouts didn’t quite reach maturity by the time frost hit, but the kale did awesome and we had lots of greens to share with Bennett residents!
Our culminating event was the Halloween-Pumpkin-Carving-Barbequing-Garden-Bed-Building-Party at the end of October. Bennett residents, Swarthmore students, and our CHA and UTC partners gathered at the pavilion by the basketball courts for an afternoon of good work, food, and fun! We had plenty of pumpkins to carve and delicious food to eat, only to be enjoyed after working hard to build new garden beds. By the end of the five hours, we built twelve beds, carved twenty pumpkins, hauled – and climbed on – mountains of soil, and stuffed our bellies to the max with homemade mac&cheese, hot dogs, hamburgers, and salads all cooked by Bennett neighbors. The day was a great way to enjoy the last of the warm fall days and to prepare for the spring with new beds for our continued growth.
The CHA has hired UTC to significantly expand the garden and increase programming, which is really exciting. The about 20 new beds that have been built behind the basketball court are the beginning of a vision of beds throughout the areas between the houses, fruit trees on the hill up to the highway, and other produce grown all around the Bennett. There have been UTC staff around during the fall working with us and the kids, and we are looking forward to seeing them implement some of the programs they have been running on their farms, including potentially after-school activities, a program where kids can take complete responsibility for growing in their own bed, and a summer work program.
Over the cold winter months we will meet with UTC to further coordinate our spring and summer activities, especially the construction of our hoop-house so that we can get a jump start planting in early March!
Exciting things are happening at the garden and stay tuned for more information!