Although Connecticut is one of the richest states in the nation, paradoxically, its capitol city, Hartford is one of the poorest in the nation. There are over 4000 people experiencing homelessness in Connecticut, 700 of whom are Hartford-based. In response to the immense need within Hartford, Charter Oak provides three programs that work to address homelessness and other issues faced by Hartford residents. One of these is BOTS Pots:
BOTS Pots-- named for Beat of the Street, Charter Oak’s “street” newspaper written by individuals experiencing homelessness and their allies-- places large potted organic vegetable plants throughout the City of Hartford. Individuals who are experiencing homelessness are hired and trained to tend the pots and the vegetables are provided for free to anyone in need, addressing hunger in Hartford. In addition, local artists volunteer to transform the pots into public art. As far as we know, the program is the only one of its kind in the country, although the model has been sought out by other cities asking how they can bring it into their communities. BOTS Pots brings food, jobs and art to Hartford and provides much-needed work experience and a resume line item for individuals experiencing homelessness.
Funded by Awesome Without Borders (February 2014)