2nd Place Winner
Concord United Methodist Church Community Gardens
Knox County Master Gardeners
CUMC Community Garden was started in 2014 on a former house lot (70’ x 90’). In 2017 a second garden was added (60’ x 90’). In 2020 12,515 pounds of organically grown produce was donated to 12 food pantries. A total of 50,115 pounds of produce has been donated since 2014.The project is led by a MG who is a member of the church. Garden volunteers include members of the congregation, residents of the neighborhood, and MGs who mentor and advise the volunteers. Members of the church and neighborhood are invited each year to adopt raised beds with the agreement that 10% of their produce will be donated. The detailed notes made during the startup and development of the gardens are available to any organization planning a community garden. The documentation addresses basic needs and planning guides for a group starting a small, medium, or large garden. In 2014, MGs were significantly outnumbered by other volunteers. Over the years, some volunteers have become MGs and now there are 20+ MGs and 25+ other volunteers who tend to the garden in three work sessions each week. A flower ministry began in 2019 led by a MG with 4 volunteers. In 2020 the Flower ministry cut over 3200 stems which were given to a church program for adults with dementia (CADES) and homebound church members. The gardens are home to 14 significant scout projects: Eagle Scout, Girl Scout Gold, and Girl Scout Silver awards have been earned.
3rd Place Winner
Treatment Court & Opportunity House Garden
Penn State Master Gardeners of Berks County
The Treatment Court Opportunity House Demonstration Garden is an initiative that supports the Penn State Master Gardener’s mission to educate the community on sustainable horticulture through unbiased best practices. Further, the program yields the very pragmatic benefit of providing fresh garden grown produce to a diverse, homeless community in what is effectively a food desert, urban Reading, PA. Treatment Court was devised by a local judge as a means for DUI probationers to meet their community service requirements. Penn State Master Gardeners of Berks County partnered with the Treatment Court program to deliver vegetable and small fruit gardening education to the probationers. Training was delivered hands-on, experientially and included the topics of soil testing, direct seed sowing, and transplanting. Probationers, under guidance, provided the care that ultimately took uncared plots through to lush, productive berry and vegetable gardens. After the initial year of Treatment Court, the Master Gardeners were invited to expand to twenty-three roughly 5’ X 12’ garden beds and to partner with the Opportunity House homeless shelter. The gardens are located at a visible, high traffic community in an economically depressed section of Reading. The visibility led to opportunities to interact with members of the local community and explain the nature of our mission as Master Gardeners to educate and our partnership with Treatment Court and Opportunity House.