By Connie Ray, Growing for a Healthy Future Project Coordinator, Campus Compact Mid-Atlantic AmeriCorps VISTA, Center for Coastal and Watershed Studies
If you were to visit the Religious Coalition for Human Needs (RCEHN) on DeGrange Street two weeks ago, you’d have found a large, empty lot behind the main building. If you visit it today, however, you will find two large, raised garden beds, 4 feet wide, 8 feet long, and 3 feet high.
These are not your average, run-of-the-mill garden beds, either. These are the realization of an innovative design that directly irrigates the gardens from rooftop runoff that would otherwise run into local streams and pollute our water supply. Instead, the building’s runoff will now be used to grow vegetables for residents of the homeless shelter.
These beds were constructed on Wednesday, Sept. 20 (in 86-degree heat, no less) thanks to the efforts of 16 dedicated volunteers, including six Hood College students, five Aramark employee volunteers, a regular volunteer at the Religious Coalition, three staff/faculty from Hood College, and a Campus Compact Mid-Atlantic AmeriCorps VISTA.