The Community Mercantile Education Foundation (CMEF) received a community grant in Spring 2018 to launch the Growing Food, Growing Hope garden in collaboration with DCCCA First Step at LakeView, a residential substance abuse treatment center. This project offers women and their children a healing, therapeutic outdoor space to nurture hope and provide practical skills to carry with them into their new future. A year, later, the results are in, and they more than succeeded in growing food AND growing hope! DCCF is honored to be a small part of this inspiring project. Thank you CMEF and First Step at LakeView for your work in our community!
From the 2018 Community Grant Report:
“…The Growing Food Growing Hope Garden project, in its first year, exceeded our expectations. What was a grassy area is now a well developed garden with beautiful entry arbor, fencing, seating area for residents, children’s digging box, winding paths through flower gardens, and raised beds for vegetables.
CMEF staff worked with DCCCA staff to create opportunities for women to volunteer weekly in the garden, working alongside our adult and student gardeners. Women harvested food for their kitchen, flowers for their room, learned basic growing skills, and most importantly had quiet, structured time outside. Children in the First Step daycare also had weekly supervised garden time. Sometimes the most important lesson they learned was how to spend time peacefully in nature. The garden was regularly and highly maintained and watered by CMEF staff. Food was harvested, weighed, packaged, and delivered three times a week to the kitchen at First Step. Organic kitchen waste composted each workday. CMEF and the Growing Food Growing Health Hope Garden was part of DCCCA’s Recovery Day celebration in September where women and their families could tour the garden and sample fresh veggies. In preparation for this event CMEF staff helped develop flower beds along the entry way. Beginning in October Executive Director Nancy O’Connor began teaching cooking classes twice monthly to the residents, focusing on fruits and vegetables grown in the garden.”