HOPE Garden grows in Chapel Hill

planters.jpgA field of dreams in Chapel Hill

(Monday, Sep 14)

My husband and I paid a visit to the emerging HOPE Garden on Homestead Road in Chapel Hill. Imagine a field of dreams in which UNC students, partnering with others, are cutting bamboo, assembling raised planting beds, creating trellises for beans and other vegetables to grow and much more. (They’re also eating, talking and seemingly having a good time.) They are doing more than creating beds for plants; they are sowing seeds of hope for the homeless and other individuals who will benefit from the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor. David Baron is the heart, soul and brain behind the operation. But he has had a lot of lifting.jpghelp from many people. Orange County gave land to the project, Department of Parks and Recreation has helped, NC State faculty and stud

ents are providing landscape architecture advice, APPLES is offering service credit, and UNC students are contributing their notable enthusiasm and hard work. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. This isn’t just about giving to the homeless. It is also about collaborating with them, teaching them and providing the foundation for new independence. We came away uplifted by the potential of the garden but also by the realization of what our students can do when they put their minds to it. David’s tenacity, inventiveness, charisma and vision are awesome. If anyone is interested in volunteering, get in touch with David Baron. The article below from the UNC news provides more detail. There also are beds for anyone to rent to grow food—local, healthy and pretty cheap.

UNC sophomore David Baron receives a Projects for Peace grant for HOPE Garden
Wednesday, May 06, 2009

david-baron.jpg

A sustainable way to address homelessness in Chapel Hill resulted in a $10,000 grant for its creator, David Baron of Atlanta, a sophomore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Baron’s Homeless Outreach Poverty Eradication (HOPE) Garden was one of more than 100 student-initiated projects to receive a Davis Projects for Peace grant from philanthropist Kathryn W. Davis.

HOPE Garden is a partnership of Carolina students and the Town of Chapel Hill working in collaboration with the N.C. State University department of horticulture science. In this project, homeless people will train and work alongside volunteers and mentors in a community garden, with land donated by the town. The workers will gain valuable job skills and income, while the organic produce they grow will be sold on the UNC campus and given to disadvantaged families, who could not otherwise afford to buy this fresh, high-quality and nutritious food.

“HOPE Garden will promote employment security, food security and the overall security that comes from strong community ties,” Baron said. “It will promote peace by bridging the gaps that exist in the Chapel Hill community, while providing program participants and the community at large with a greater sense of communal security.”

Davis Projects for Peace invited all students from partner schools in the Davis United World College (UWC) Scholars Program plus students at International Houses worldwide and Future Generations to submit plans for grassroots projects for peace, to be implemented during the summer of 2009. University students from nearly 100 campuses will collectively receive over $1 million in funding during the summer of 2009 for projects in all regions of the world.

Happy Monday. Barbara

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    I am also a resident of Chapel. It was a good fortune for us residents to have the UNC students working on the Chapel hill to bring Hope Garden into a reality. I respect their work wholeheartedly and suggests others to take the path shown by the UNC students.

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