April 22, 2011

It's Earth Day every day... on our roofs!

It’s Earth Day! So on this day of our earth, let's celebrate our progress in the Grow for the City rooftop garden projects. (How about celebrating Earth Day by making a donation in honor this innovative project? Make your gift here now, or read on...)

Over in our Southeast Center, Bread for the City was just paid a visit by Gifts of the Good Earth, which will be providing us with innovative self-irrigating planters for the container garden. Last year, this garden was the inspirational innovation that planted the seeds we see sprouting today, so we are excited to see it improved this time around.

And our Northwest Center has hosted Bread for the City clients, board members, staff, neighbors and new friends, who've constructed nearly 30 beds and prepared the site for great growth to come. dc greenworks has been instrumental in this process, designing the garden and overseeing its construction.

Before to After!

Last Saturday, despite forecasts that forewarned of a 100% chance of torrential rain, our hardy volunteers still showed up to build the first of our beds. This Saturday (tomorrow!) a crane will hoist the rest of our growing medium (aka dirt) to fill the beds.

On Sunday May 1st, we’ll plant the first vegetable seedlings.

BFC clients have been playing an active role in the visioning, planning, and construction of the space. For instance, take Rosa.

Rosa has been a volunteer at Bread for the City for a long time -- and was a client back in the 80s, when she and her husband struggled with unemployment -- and she was thrilled to hear about this project because she used to garden as a child with her mother. Rosa hasn’t had the space to work on a garden in a long time, and was simply ecstatic to be on the roof. “Rain or shine, I knew I was going to be here today,” she said. “Not only because it was an opportunity to give back, but to get back!”

Diana, in the video below, has been a client at BFC for just two years.

She heard about our garden project through her friend Antoinette, another client who grew up in rural North Carolina and is intimately familiar with growing her own food. Diana is a native Washingtonian and has seen a lot of changes in her neighborhood, but this is the first time she’s been on top of a roof for a garden. “It’s driving me crazy, but I love it.”

Another exciting part of the rooftop garden project: we’re buzzing! Literally. We invited DC Honeybees to install two beehives that will supply our space with active pollinators and delicious honey. Watch Jeff Miller from DC Honeybees set up our hives:

And you can see our whole Flickr set documenting our progress here.

It's all very exciting, and we've had an outpouring of people offering to help make it happen. In fact, we've had so many people to volunteer that we've totally met our goal of 200 pledged volunteer garden-building hours. It's inspiring! But now we need the resources to give this vision life.

You can join this Community Supported Agriculture project. Help us celebrate Earth Day by:
Let's grow this thing!


Bob said...

Just enjoying the memory of years ago being told "its not dirt, its soil, its earth". Dirt is inert. Soil has life! It is alive with microorganisms and nutrients. I just loved the way Rosa talk about her mother talking about "planting in the earth."

I am a donor to the project and it makes me very happy to share her joy - even though I am not there.

All Cats are Grey in the Dark said...

This is very exciting and I am glad things are starting off so well I can't wait to see it develop and help out in the process.