The benefits of good quality food are well known, but growing that food can also be emotionally and psychologically beneficial.
This is the premise behind the creation of a brand-new community garden at Austin Street Center (ASC). From a vacant city lot, the 2017 class of Leadership Dallas is creating the New Hope Garden to provide quality food for both the body and minds of Austin Street Center guests.
In addition to teaching clients in how to care for a garden, the endeavor will provide a respite for individuals staying in the shelter. So often, homelessness means not having anywhere to go—and not just for sleep. By creating a beautiful outdoor space just for Austin Street guests, the New Hope Garden will provide a safe and healing environment to simply be.
During the month of May, class member volunteers are spending their weekends preparing the soil and sowing the seedlings. Crops will include zucchini, okra, tomatoes, cantaloupe and snap peas.
“ We know this is about so much more than fresh produce, stated executive director Daniel Roby. “ The process of tending a garden provides our guests the opportunity to positively impact their environment. Gardening has been shown to reduce stress and calm nerves, significant benefit for individuals combating the trauma of homelessness.”
Vegetables from the garden will be incorporated into the more than 346,000 meals served in the by volunteers annually. For more information about New Hope Garden, check out the video: