Verner Center for Early Learning is a high quality early education program nestled in the heart of Western North Carolina. For the past 15 years, Verner has been dedicated to the mission of seeing families and children in Western North Carolina thrive. During the 2015-2016 school year, Verner succeeded in serving the educational and social needs of over 200 children—67% of which suffered from the effects of poverty and low income.
One of the most devastating impacts of poverty is food insecurity. To combat this problem, Verner created VEG!, a one acre garden that supplies food and outdoor education opportunities to the school’s low income families. For two seasons, VEG! has succeeded in helping students and their families gain access to organic vegetables. The garden has also fostered an increase in physical activity for children at Verner and their loved ones.
However, plans to expand and develop the garden have hit a road block. The main culprit of this stagnation is water supply. To grow more food for families, VEG! needs access to a larger and more sustainable source of rain water. VEG! has been working with water professionals and has developed a water catchment system plan that can divert 400 gallons of rainwater to the garden. This system utilizes rainwater that is drained from the roof, converted to copper reservoirs, and spread through the garden through a drip irrigation system.
We have designed this system to be accessible to children, volunteers, and teachers who visit the garden during school hours and on the weekend. The water professionals involved in providing insight into this project stated that a 400 gallon reserve is sufficient to keep the garden lush during times of drought. This system would also ease the strain on the Asheville water system, diverting resources to where they are truly needed.
Funded by Asheville, NC (October 2016)