We’ve seen a couple examples of how small-scale farming can help non-profit organizations like The Samaritan Women or be taken overseas to feed the poor. Here’s an example how Square Foot Gardening is working to help a local group – Arundel House of Hope (AHoH).
I’ve been working with Marsha Urban, a Case Worker for Arundel House of Hope, and asked her to tell us a bit about the organization and how Square Foot Gardening will help:
Arundel House of Hope is an ecumenical organization that provides emergency, transitional, permanent and affordable housing for the poor and homeless in Anne Arundel County. Our goal is to empower individuals to seize opportunity of change and assist with integration from homelessness to independence. AHoH strives to offer a continuum of housing and supportive services to individuals from the moment they become homeless through reintegration into permanent and independent living. Through its efforts AHoH serves the county’s homeless population, improving the quality of their lives as well as the residents and business community in Anne Arundel County.
Founded in 1992 AHoH has grown to encompass program offerings in several areas. Their programs include the Winter Relief temporary shelter, the Community Supportive Housing Program which includes four permanent homes), the Safe haven program for me, the WISH permanent program for women, the Homeless Day and Resource Center, the Doughy Dog Social Enterprise Program, the new Patriot House, a transitional program for homeless veterans and the new AHoH free medical clinic open to those without insurance.
When approached about starting Square Foot Gardens in some of our housing programs, this seemed like a natural next step to empowering our residents to become independent and productive. The first garden has been put in our Severna Park house; the word has spread and we hope to put in three more gardens in other houses. One house has volunteered to put the boxes together for others so this experience has become a collaborative effort.
For some of our residents, gardening is not new. For others growing up in the city, this is a new and exciting experience. Food produced will be used to feed the house and excess will be distributed to our other houses.
Can more be in the future for Arundel House of Hope? ABSOLUTELY! “Farmer Charles”, one of our residents envisions himself sitting on the side of Ritchie Highway in his farmer’s jeans, straw hat and a glass of sweet tea, selling vegetables. Quite a picture for this city boy!
Our plans are to involve the residents in another aspect of this project. In order to help with the costs of the materials a yard sale will be held. Residents are being asked to solicit donations of goods for the sale and then be available to work at the table. A mockup of a Square Foot Garden along with a display board of our houses will be available for shippers to view.
The yard sale will be held at The Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer on 7606 Quarterfield Road in Glen Burnie on June 2 from 8 AM – 2 PM. The space is being donated by the church as a part of their Strawberry Festival and yard sale. Donations of items for AHoH sale and more information can be made by contacting Marsha Urban at the Arundel House of Hope – email@example.com or 410-963-4888 ext. 154. Please ask specifically for Marsha and reference the Square Foot Gardening yard sale. Also please come out and support us. We look forward to seeing you on Saturday, June 2nd.
Eventually I would even like to see the gardens expanded so that AHoH could have more excess produce to sell at a Farmers' Market or open a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program and earn money from their garden.
In addition to providing donations for, or shopping at the yard sale, Arundel House of Hope would graciously accept donations of gift cards to places that sell building materials and garden supplies like Home Depot, Lowes, Ace, etc. When you come to the sale, we’ll also be glad to accept any seed packets or transplants you don't want.
You may also purchase SFG4U.com growing medium from my web site and designate it for AHoH. Thank you for your generosity!