Written by Becky Weidhaas, Resident Manager Myrtle St. SRO
In early 2011, Fort Collins Housing Authority's (FCHA) Charlee Rocco and The Growing Project (TGP) Co-Director Chad Shavor, began discussing the possibility of a garden being built at one of FCHA’s supportive housing facilities which houses individuals who are homeless, called the Single Room Occupancy (SRO). As the resident manager of the Myrtle Street SRO, discussions between TGP and Charlee were presented to me for consideration for a pilot program that TGP was set to launch, called Urban Food Outreach (UFO).
TGPs mission is to increase self-reliance and create a strong, diverse, just, and local food system. At the time of collaborative planning, I felt this would be a good fit for the Myrtle SRO because the residents of the three SROs in Fort Collins would learn how to grow their own organic food. This would not only increase their self-sufficiency skills, but expose them to the freshest, healthiest food available. I was convinced this project would bring great opportunities to my residents, and because my team at the Housing Authority agreed, the planning and implementation of a new hosting garden soon began. The Myrtle house collaboration with TGP went from designing & building, to a now successfully growing food garden on our property. Together with the residents, we made this a summer project to be proud of!
With A total of 450 lbs grown and gleaned, I am happy to report that Myrtle's UFO garden, SUCCEEDED!
Due to the positive feedback of the Myrtle garden, TGP and Rick Torres (1st Street SRO resident manager) have decided to collaborate on a NEW giving garden at the 1st Street SRO location. December 2011, marked the beginning of this new project. The day brought a majority of the 1st Street residents and many TGP volunteers out in the winter sun to work on building the soil and beds at the property in preparation for the spring.
Such exciting times are ahead for TGP! The Myrtle SRO residents are very excited for the 2012 growing season to take off again. The anticipation of the 1st Street giving garden is in full swing! I look forward to sparking up a friendly gardening competition with Rick as he ventures into the gardening fun that will bring him, as it did me, copious amounts of joy and enthusiasm for everyone involved!
Come partake in the treasured experience of growing and giving! I hope to see you in the gardens!
TGP Volunteer Coordinator, FCHA Liason, & Gardening Enthusiast