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Grown In Penn Hills: Annual report 2015

Our community garden has expanded to 106 individual growing beds with over 80 active garden members, community berry gardens and herb garden, picnic area and fire pit. The garden brings fresh produce into the homes of our gardeners and our less fortunate neighbors through donating produce to local food banks and senior centers. In 2015 our garden members donated 610 lbs. of produce to local food charities including Penn Hills Service Association, Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, and Meals For Friends. In the spring, our garden received the Abundant Acres Award from the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank for donating 423 lbs. of produce in 2014. We welcomed local Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts to the garden this year, and got them started with a seed starting party in April. Our garden partnered with Shadyside Worms for a series of composting workshops and established a 3-bin composting system, which is the first organized composting at our garden. We partnered with Mt. Hope Church and had a table at their weekly farm stand in the early summer where we gave away herbs and seedlings and educated people about our garden. In the fall we organized a workshop to build low tunnels or hoop houses on some of our garden beds, enabling members to grow food for 3 seasons. In October our garden partnered with the University of Pittsburgh during “Pitt Make a Difference Day”. Around 40 student volunteers came our garden to help replace our deteriorating plastic fencing with 8 foot tall welded wire fencing. The new deer fence is working well, and will be vitally important to protecting 20 new fruit trees that will be planted in the spring of 2016 through a grant from the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation.