It’s almost the new year and the perfect time to reflect on everything that 2022 has brought us. Harmony Grows has made remarkable progress this year due in large part to the support from the National Benevolent Association’s SENT cohort program. Our involvement in this program has provided a good foundation of knowledge and resources to begin this nonprofit journey. It has been an amazing experience to collaborate with such a remarkable group of inspired individuals.
This past growing season was the first on our permanent garden plot. We were fortunate to win the Reworks compost giveaway at the start of the season which gave our plants an enormous boost. Although we had another late plant date in mid-July our harvest quantities this year were much larger than in 2021.
This year’s produce haul totaled 668lbs compared to 207lbs in 2021. This is primarily due to the garden size and the much-improved soil quality on our new plot.
The harvests from our garden this year were distributed predominantly through Good Neighbors, with additional amounts donated to Harmony Springs Christian Church and our active volunteer base. I’m very proud that we were able to increase the local distribution of this food throughout our own community.
All our produce was grown organically and responsibly. We have worked hard to utilize environmentally responsible practices such as using rainwater runoff for all watering, organic and safe pest management, and composting. Even our “waste” wasn’t wasted as we could use it as animal feed. Conservation of our resources and responsible “green” land management is foundational to this project.
It has been a big year for us but next year will be even bigger! In the coming months we will be working on a few new “construction” projects on the garden site. We will be building our permanent compost bins and installing several above ground garden beds, seating areas, and railings to increase the accessibility of our garden space.
In addition to offering community garden spaces, and planting our Giving Garden, we are planning two new projects. First, our CSA will be starting this spring. This will enable people to purchase a share of our gardens produce to be picked up weekly throughout the growing season. The second project we plan to take on is the continuation of the food access program at the Barberton farmer’s market. This program will allow SNAP recipients to use their food stamp benefit to purchase locally grown produce. This is beneficial to SNAP customers as well as local farmers and producers.
Harmony Grows is committed to improving healthy, local food access to everyone through our multifaceted and diverse programming. I am so incredibly grateful for the year of growth that we have had, the support from the NBA, and our tremendous group of dedicated volunteers. I can’t wait to see what an impact we will have in 2023.