The Philadelphia Horticultural Society has awarded to St. Paul’s Community Garden a blue ribbon in the vegetable category in the Gardening and Greening competition. From 350 entries only 4 blue ribbons were awarded in this category. This prestigious award recognizes the hard work that our garden committee has done over the last 5 years to build a garden to the point that this year we have donated 2100 lbs. to the Chester County Food Bank.
Our community garden was founded in the spring of 2010 under the leadership of Helen Heinmiller and in the past 5 years donations have grown from 333 lbs. to over a ton of food donated to the food bank. Our beds have increased from 8 to 42, and we’ve added two bee hives with their sole mission to increase our yield. The garden is irrigated by a drip system donated by the Brickman Group. Among the many events that have grown out of this garden ministry is the May Plant Sale done in partnership with the Church Farm School, the We Grow Hope 5K Run/Walk, and the Great Zucchini Race. The garden has transformed our campus into a park-like setting.
During this past year Helen moved into a consulting role while Steve Choc and John Stipe took over the day to day operation of the garden. This leadership team directs our volunteer group of approximately 15 people who plant, weed, and harvest the many vegetables and maintain the beauty of our now award winning garden.
The Nancy Hollywood Community Garden and Wellness Center at St. Paul’s is working to create a successful community model that addresses the increased demand in our county for food assistance, and renews an appreciation for our personal health and food sources. We offer volunteers and participants a hands-on way to learn sustainable gardening practices and help us grow fresh produce to support local hunger-relief agencies. Our garden and its community have blossomed over the past four years to include dedicated areas for rental plots, a children’s garden, an idea garden, compost center, two bee hives, and over twenty raised beds dedicated for food production. The garden partners with the Chester County Food Bank Gleaning Program, Penn State Master Gardeners, the Church Farm School, and The Brickman Group, as well as local schools, doctor’s ofﬁces, and businesses on various projects.
We invite you to join us for a day at the garden!