Diversity Gardening Co-op Harvests Food and Fosters Community

By Darren Holcomb

The Diversity Gardening Co-op is a citizen-led project envisioned by Eliot Neighborhood Association board member, Shireen Hasan, with the generous support of the members of St. Philip the Deacon Church led by Reverend Maria McDowell. It was designed and constructed by myself and other Eliot residents and community members.

This garden had its beginnings in August of 2018 and in April of this year 2019, construction began. By May we planted our first crops. Those crops were harvested this summer. Currently, the garden consists of nine 3’x6’ planter boxes growing a variety of vegetables for the members of our community. Our ultimate goal is to expand that number to provide gardening space for the members of the church, the unhoused, African Americans, low income, flash disadvantaged, veterans, youth who are in our area and even a raised gardening box for those needing wheelchair accessibility. There will also be an extensive herb garden for all to plant in as well as a meditation garden including artwork to reflect the African American Diaspora in the neighborhood.

These additions are currently in the design stage. This project is breathing renewed life to an area that was starting to slip back upon itself. The pooling of our group’s talents, community and business organization’s resources and other partnerships and support of the neighborhood have been key to helping us proceed past a number of obstacles, both inherent to the project and that arose from unexpected sources along the way. With the continued support of all involved, we are looking forward to the completion of this vision in the summer/fall of 2020.

Stay tuned for quarterly updates and please consider volunteering at the garden this year. It’s a great way to meet some new neighbors and friends and give back to your community.

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