WEST ASHLEY SC (WCSC) - You may not realize it, but a small portion of your tax dollars are supplying food to local homeless shelters and food banks in a round about way through city park maintenance fees. The Charleston Parks Conservancy, a non-profit, maintains several of the city's gardens, and recently one in Avondale is getting a new addition to the site.
The Magnolia Community Garden has been open for about a year. Right now it has 60 plots where people in the area can come and plant their vegetables. The new addition to the garden is the greenhouse, which is under construction.
"We want to educate people on the proper ways to garden, and growing their own food," Leslie Wade, Gardener Coordinator for the Charleston Parks Conservancy, said. "The greenhouse is just one more component for that educational process."
The conservancy hopes to teach people how to grow their own seeds in the greenhouse, eventually planting them in their own plots.
It's just one of several ideas the non-profit has to expand the garden. Among those include a rainwater harvesting system.
"We had an expert come out, and he said that one inch of rain can harvest 480 gallons of water," Wade said. "We'll be able to use that in the garden."
The city already pays for water in the garden, but tax payers help maintain it in some essence. While it's funded and maintained largely from donations and volunteers, tax payers have some roll in it. The harvest from 14 plots in the garden go to local homeless shelters and food banks.
"To date they have donated nearly 1,000 pounds of fresh produce," Miriam Langley, Vice President of Development and Communications at the Lowcountry Food Bank, said. "The types of produce have been greens, potatoes, all sorts of things. Almost 1,000 pounds is about 800 meals to our community."
Langley said the special thing about the garden and food bank partnership is that it's neighbors feeding neighbors. The relationship expected to grow further with the new greenhouse.
"They really make a difference because that's over 100 pounds of produce a month that the community garden is distributing to the lowcountry food bank," Langley said.
The goal is to have the greenhouse completed by the end of the week.