KPR Garden is viewed as a neighborhood improvement--down to the soil itself. We have the soil tested and each year our lead levels, among other contaminants, continue to drop. So what we plant is healthy for the earth and us. Since we are located close to the Anacostia River, our garden helps to retain stormwater and cut back on pollutants flowing into the river. DDOE data states three billion untreated gallons of water flow into the Anacostia each year. We always plant extra vegetables outside of the fence for neighbors who are not gardeners to enjoy. We recently were awarded with 14 trees that will continue to beautify the area. We hold annual Halloween parties for the entire community that include candy hunts, games, and scarecrow making. We've held Easter Egg Hunts, barbecues, and other events for the neighborhood. We have donated some of our bounty to local charities and last year to a restaurant for a fundraiser. As our garden grows, so does the community engagement.
Unfortunately, we do not own this land. We have been working with the city to purchase it and we are closer than ever. This massive undertaking has really tied up our funds, which is primarily dues- and grant-driven. For a number of families the $140 annual dues are difficult to manage. We currently have 10 plots where gardeners have requested subsidized dues or a payment plan. We would like to use this grant from The Awesome Foundation to help out these gardeners in times of financial hardship.
Our neighborhood is a mix of younger and long-established families. The average median income surrounding the garden is about $60,000 and the cost of living is much higher than the average, according to city-data.com. The closest local schools report 99 percent of the student body receive free or reduced lunches. Many of these children and their families are unaware of what healthy food choices are, nor are they aware of how to make them. This grant would help to foster that community education.
Funded by Washington, DC (June 2014)