We made it!!
This goal was set when we were planning three gardens. Additional funding will help us bring a garden to a fourth organization (working to end homelessness amongst people living with psychiatric disabilities) and help to increase the capacity of all our gardens. Also, the more funding we receive, the more we will be able to pursue entrepreneurial activities to move people and the future of the organization toward self-sustainability!!
Beet Street Gardens is a demonstration project combining two of my greatest passions—community gardening and harm reduction. The basic model of Beet Street is to bring gardens to social service organizations which work with marginalized adults, teens, and their families.
Beet Street is inspired by the model of many a community garden: get a community together and build a garden—a safe, healthy and transformative space--with a focus on learning (skills, sustainability, food science, and nutrition) and growing (soil, food, urban sanctuary, identity, community, economic opportunity). With this model, many community gardens in low-income neighborhoods are addressing very real economic and social divisions that are often associated with limited access to nutritious food, safe outdoor space, and recreational and skill-building opportunities.
Among the hardest to reach people and families are those dealing with crises such as homelessness, domestic violence, drug use, and poverty. For many, there are several barriers to participating in existing community gardens. Perhaps most important to witness is the barrier of real and perceived discrimination and stigma while engaging in an unknown community space.
Taking it to the (Beet) Street:
Beet Street Gardens will strive to address these barriers by building gardens on-site at social service organizations that are already known as a safe space for their participants. From March to October of 2010, Beet Street demonstration project will plant, maintain, and harvest—through teaching and collaboration—sustainable food-producing gardens at three organizations in DC. Workshops and information sharing sessions will be facilitated on the topics of gardening, food, health, nutrition, and cooking. The organizations--a harm reduction agency working with sex workers (HIPS, yay!), a shelter for homeless teen mothers, and a harm reduction based domestic violence shelter--were chosen based on need, their reputation with marginalized communities and commitment to harm reduction principles.
In this demonstration phase, the goal of Beet Street is simply to cultivate community and improve quality of life through gardening and information sharing. As these gardens and our relationship with organizations and individuals take root, we will expand services with the vision of providing economic opportunities and job training. The program will build bridges to the larger urban gardening community and green economy in a constant pursuit of positive change.
Things to know:
All services and programs provided by Beet Street will be guided by the principles of harm reduction. Namely: meeting people where they are at with non-judgmental, non-coercive, client-driven services. For more on harm reduction: www.harmreduction.org
Beet Street will provide all services with no to low-impact on the financial and human resources of the participating organizations. So often, organizations are stretched thin providing basic services and advocating for their clients. Beet Street will bring these gardens without stressing the organization.
Funds from Kickstarter will go to seed starting equipment, soil tests, building materials, tools, compost, soil, seeds, plants, compost bins, materials for workshops and cooking sessions, canning and preserving supplies. Any funds raised above goal will go toward stipends and/or toward murals at the gardens!
Beet Street will be a lot of work! Those that will make it happen include people excited and waiting for a garden at their space, myself, and a crew of amazing volunteers (largely from the community gardening, local food, and harm reduction communities of DC).
- (25 days)