The Hannah House Hope Garden project is an opportunity for families experiencing homelessness to access green space as a way to collaborate with others on a meaningful, measurable sustainability project, cultivate social capital as well as flowers, native grasses, and pollinators, and activate a connection with the earth using basic gardening skills as a way to relieve stress and anxiety.
Hannah House is a Cornerstone Community Outreach shelter for women and children experiencing homelessness in Uptown. It provides safe shelter for 55 women and children and has been operating successfully since 1989, enabling hundreds of families to move from homelessness to stable housing. They have a rooftop playground that was installed years ago. Recently a volunteer team installed a pergola complete with space for deep flower beds on either side. The roof is a recreational space for kids, but also a community space for the mothers.
Our team has been granted permission to build a rooftop garden along with freestanding pots and tubs for pollinators and native grasses. We have a local Eagle Scout candidate, Isaac Ingerson who, with his troop, will be building the boxes for flowers and vegetables. We also have David Baumgartner, a creative building volunteer, who will be designing the boxes for maximum volume in minimal space. Andrew Winter, Chief Financial Officer of CCO, is procuring funds and space for us.
Measurable environmental benefits.
We will use rain barrels for collecting water and will plant native grasses and pollinators. We’ll have a small-scale mealworm colony that composts styrofoam and have already started two vermicomposting bins. We’ll be using free local mulch and making our own compost for fertilizer. The wood for the boxes will be recycled from previous structures and new leftover materials. We believe the garden boxes and rain barrels will absorb excess water and possibly prevent future flood damage.
Include a communication and/or education component.
imparting basic gardening skills to help manage stress and grant access to green space
teaching them the medicinal properties of herbs to create homeopathic teas, salves, etc.
giving each family their own small plot to take care of for a sense of ownership
workshops on the local environment and ways they can start small to care for the earth