Organic Garden for the Homeless
At the beginning of spring each year, our interns turn the soil and prepare to place seeds into individual containers. They begin planting the tiny seeds which we will then harvest as ripe tomatoes, eggplants, zucchinis in a couple of months!
This year we were able to fill our garden with an abundant amount of cherry tomatoes, and a combination of yellow and green squash. Our garden runs strong all of spring and throughout the months of summer as we collect baskets to donate each week.
Americorps volunteers spent a day cleaning and preparing the garden for the fall season. The volunteers worked hard to pull the weeds from the planters. They also planted kale for the homeless populations in the Northern Sacramento area.
This summer and fall SHARE interns worked to expand one of the two gardens, including the rebuilding of the greenhouse by one SHARE intern and his father. The produce was donated to Sunrise Christian Food Ministry’s food bank and was well received. Hundreds of families were beneficiaries of our donations.
The SHARE Institute continued its garden project, reaching out to new community organizations to donate its organic foodstuffs to, including Orangevale Food Bank, Sunrise Christian Food Ministries, while continuing to serve the St. John's Shelter Program.
In 2013 the garden produced eggplants, strawberries, peppers, tomatoes, oregano, basil and thyme. Interns worked tirelessly to ensure that the garden was a huge success for SHARE and the local homeless community.
The SHARE Institute began and finished construction of an expanded garden in response to the overwhelming success of the organic garden over the past two years. Interns pitched in to cut tree branches out of the way and fill the new boxes with fresh soil. These boxes were then planted with squash, strawberries, peppers, tomatoes and herbs that will be ready to harvest in a few months’ time.
Meanwhile, the original organic garden for the homeless continued to flourish, producing several new crops of squash, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers. The produce is usually donated to St. John’s Shelter Program for Women & Children in Sacramento. At the seasons end, the interns planted new seedlings that will be harvested in the coming summer and fall.
The second year of the organic garden was another success at the SHARE institute. The interns have been enthusiastically working on mastering their gardening skills, in order to donate the produce to those in need. The fruits of our labor produced baskets and baskets of fresh organic vegetables each week, including tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. The produce was donated to St. John’s Shelter Program for Women & Children in Sacramento. The summer crop alone resulted in over fifteen donation trips!
During the winter semester, the interns of SHARE dedicated their time and sweat to make what would be SHARE’s new project, the organic garden! The interns built the garden from the bottom up, putting boxes together, inserting soil and manure, planting seeds and seedlings, and, eventually, harvesting the vegetables. Many local community members came out to lend a hand with our gardening project, including providing advice and assistance in starting the garden. The interns learned everything from the necessity of lining to ensure the soil remains organic, to proper planting techniques, including proper spacing between plants and crops, and how to safely transfer fruit trees from pot to soil.
The garden yielded bountiful harvests of onions, lettuce, and cabbage – only slugs would prove to be a challenge in our garden, but even they were no match to our determination. The harvested vegetables were donated to the grateful women and children of St. John’s Shelter. St. John’s supports homeless women and children assisting them towards empowerment.
New seeds and seedlings were planted for spring, and many spring harvests were brought to local food programs. Special thanks must be given to all the Board members, interns, and community members who made this project possible and successful.