CEO Grace Elton with volunteers in the Vegetable Garden. Photo by Dawn Davies
Tower Hill Botanic Garden was the fortunate recipient this year of funding through the Urban Agriculture Resilience Program in support of our efforts to grow fresh produce for area food banks. The Urban Agriculture Resilience Program is a joint initiative of the American Public Gardens Association and the U.S. Botanic Garden, designed to support urban agriculture, community gardening, and other food-growing programs that are facing challenges in operating at their full capacity, or have the potential to increase capacity, during this growing season due to COVID-19 impacts.
Swiss chard growing in the Vegetable Garden. Photo by Dawn Davies.
Designed by Dawn Davies, Tower Hill’s horticulture manager, the vegetable garden is maintained by staff and volunteers and has always been a source of fresh produce for local food banks. In partnership with Rachel’s Table, fresh produce from Tower Hill has been distributed to local community members in need. This year, thanks to the support of the Urban Agriculture Resilience Program, we plan to substantially increase our donations and as of this week, Tower Hill has donated more than 400 pounds of produce in a few short weeks since the harvesting season began. We expect to well surpass our record of 1,000 pounds given to those in need.
Volunteers in the Vegetable Garden. Photo by Dawn Davies
According to Feeding America, 617,380 people are struggling with hunger in Massachusetts and of them 138,760 are children. At least 12 percent of Worcester County, nearly 100,000 people, experience food insecurity. According to Feeding America, food insecurity could rise by up to 5.2 percent because of unemployment and increased poverty as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
We could not accomplish our goals without the support of many volunteers. Dawn organized a team of volunteers this season to help harvest, weigh, label, and deliver produce on Tuesdays and Thursdays, alternating each week between the Friendly House Neighborhood Center and the Southern Worcester Neighborhood Center. We are thrilled to be able to support our local community, especially now when so many families are in need.
If you would like to support Tower Hill’s efforts to make the world a better place through plants, please click here.