Blooming at the Shotwell Garden
Started from the Ground Up…
Last week, we officially opened our second garden- the Green Mountain Energy Shotwell Garden, which is located at Target Hunger’s main warehouse on Shotwell Street. This wonderful Garden is all thanks to our partner – Green Mountain Energy Sun Club who underwrote a generous grant for the project. The Garden has long been in the works. Originally planned to open at the end of 2020, the Garden hit a few hurdles before it was ready. COVID brought our focus strictly to our Disaster Distributions as the best way to serve the community members. Then the Winter Storm hit, freezing most of the seedlings that were planted earlier in the year and bursting some of the irrigation pipes. Now, we are happy to say the Garden is growing and thriving!
Designed with sustainability in mind, what was once an overgrown lot is now an innovative above-ground container garden comprised of 2,400 crates. Placed between railroad tracks on soil prone to contamination, the crates rest on benches above the ground and allow our vegetables to thrive in healthy soil. The Garden is watered via a soft irrigation system that pulls water from a 3,000-gallon rainwater catchment system. The water tank collects water from the roof of a nearby shed – just 1 inch of rainwater collected will fill the tank! The Garden also features a greenhouse for seedlings and a composting facility to help us manage vegetation waste.
Now, we’re Looking to the Future!
We anticipate that this Garden will produce approximately 10,000 pounds of fresh vegetables each year, allowing us to serve 400 families in northeast Houston. Beyond the food, we are hoping to make this Garden a place for education and community growth. Our aim is that this space will provide community members the opportunity to see where their food is grown and how to grow it themselves. We also want to use this Garden to teach the community how to turn the vegetables produced into healthy and affordable meals. It will be another opportunity to teach self-sufficiency skills and treat the root causes of hunger.
We want to say a big thank you to everyone who attended last week’s Open House. We received an outpouring of support from community leaders, including a Resolution from Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis. As we continue to grow the Garden, we hope you will visit to see the progress. A space that began as a parking lot is now a thriving garden full of squash, tomatoes, beans, and onions. As with our Goffney Garden, community members are welcome to come and volunteer with us! Gardening is a great team builder for groups and our outdoor picnic tables provide the perfect space for a breakfast or lunch while volunteering. If you are interested in volunteering please contact our Volunteer Manager, Sean Nickelberry at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign-up here.
We hope to see you at the Garden soon!