Urban farm program set to grow in downtown Charleston

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - A local nonprofit is working to put down larger roots on Charleston's peninsula.

The Green Heart Project, a community-based volunteer organization, is planning to lease a plot of land in the William Enston homes, an affordable housing community located off King St. in downtown Charleston.

The idea is a transplant from the existing school garden program.

"We had a couple of conversations with the city of Charleston and housing authority to talk about how we can not only grow our program and continue to serve the kids we've started in elementary but serve the community on a large scale," CEO of The Green Heart Project Drew Harrison said.

"The closest proximity to this urban farm is going to be the residents of the Enston homes," Harrison said. "We want to get them involved so it can serve their needs are going going to be right there with us."

The Green Heart Project currently operates five school gardens in the Charleston area, integrating school farms as outdoor classrooms and connecting students with fresh, healthy foods.

The nonprofit serves around 1,200 students each year.

The proposed farm also offers kids a chance to continue with the Green Heart Project, even after their elementary years.

"When we started the project back in 2009, we saw the need in low income food where students lacked not only knowledge but access to healthy food,' Harrison said. "Partnering with the Housing Authority brings us into close proximity with all the kids we originally served."

The urban farm would also offer easier access to fresh produce in a central location.

"it's going to be an opportunity to partner with parks conservancy and additional organizations throughout the community where everybody can take part and learn about healthy foods and how to grow them in our backyard."

According to Donald Cameron, CEO of the Charleston Housing Authority, the project has been well-received yet is pending board approval.

Cameron said board members are expected to vote on the project at the authority's Jan. 23 meeting. Early plans for the garden anticipate the plot opening Aug. 2017.

Copyright 2017 WCSC. All rights reserved.