South Hills – Mon Valley Messenger – South Hills Interfaith Movement (SHIM) staff and volunteers are working to build a brand new garden at Whitehall Presbyterian Church, bringing SHIM’s total garden count to 13. With garden builds occurring throughout this month and next, SHIM anticipates planting will begin late May.
The produce grown in SHIM’s gardens help stock the shelves of the organization’s three South Hills food pantries. Last year, SHIM’s gardens grew more than 11,000 pounds of fresh produce.
“We are so excited to bring another garden to the South Hills community,” Becky Henninger, community gardens manager, SHIM. “Our gardens allow us to provide fresh, locally grown produce to our pantry families, which makes a huge difference in their experience at SHIM.”
Grow Pittsburgh provided funding and support to the Whitehall garden by offering expertise in growing a garden on an asphalt parking lot—ensuring the garden is built in a safe and sustainable manner. The space will include a gathering area, shed and demonstration space, along with a child learning area funded by Giving2Grow. The child-specific area will provide space for educational opportunities for SHIM’s after-school and summer-camp programs.
The garden will ultimately be run by families who reside at Whitehall Place, near SHIM’s Prospect Park Family Center. A group of family representatives have already stepped up to assume leadership positions and assist in the development of the garden, which offers refugees residing in the neighborhood an opportunity for community involvement and collaboration.
“It has been very exciting to work with the families and see their enthusiasm,” Henninger said. “Because many of our participating families are part of our refugee community, we have collaborated with them concerning what they would like to grow. We will be planting fruits and vegetables that are familiar to them with which they enjoy to cook, along with tomatoes, kale, beans and more.”
For more information on SHIM’s programs and volunteer opportunities, please visit www.shimcares.org.
Volunteers, including a number of refugees living in Whitehall Place as well as dozens of individuals and families, work together to build the newest SHIM garden, allowing for an outlet for community involvement and collaboration.