Warm wishes from Hospitality House for the coming winter months! Here’s to the upcoming growing season being as productive as ever, with the aid of residents, staff, volunteers, and interns!
The Gardens at Hospitality House were created to increase access to fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs for the Bread of Life Community Kitchen as well as the Food Box Program run by the Hospitality House. Residents, volunteers, staff members, and interns from Appalachian State University (ASU) work together to maintain the gardens throughout the spring, summer, and fall. The garden is grown using organic methods in mostly raised beds and is a key part of the Hospitality House’s commitment to the sustainability of life, community and environment. In the lower garden are 21 beds, 14 outside and 7 distributed within 2 hoop houses, one of which contains a germination table. The upper garden, located within the courtyard between the transitional housing wing and the permanent supportive housing wing, include handicapped-accessible beds and a new passive solar greenhouse.
Snow finally hit us in February, and during this time when the garden is dormant, the administration behind the garden program remains busy. Lauri Wilson, Garden Coordinator since July of 2015, recently gave a tour of the gardens and an orientation to Hospitality House to six new interns (most of whom have farm experience) majoring in Sustainable Development from ASU. Upon sharing dinner in the community kitchen and learning more about the vision and needs for the gardens, the students are excited to get started.
In July 2015, Wilson set up an Vision Team of staff and former resident interns to guide the garden project and create a long term plan for expansion. This includes converting grass to an edible landscape and systematic production planning to maximize the use of the existing infrastructure and target future development. A key focus is on developing garden education for the adults and children in the shelter. We’ll reinstate a previously successful Children’s Garden Project and dovetail this with training for adults and families. The current Cooking Matters class has many participants that have expressed interest in learning about gardening. Education programs will be promoted in the nearby low income communities. In addition, the gardens will soon see the addition of 25 chickens that will provide eggs and secondarily, valuable manure. An onsite survey in December revealed that several residents and clients are interested in working in the garden and caring for chickens. The Gardens at Hospitality House is working toward sustainability with several possibilities. This year we’ll start an onsite farmer’s market.
While the snow might seem to put a halt to things across the county, it’s not the case for the Gardens at Hospitality House!