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RC&D Grant Allows for the Continued Cultivation of People

RC&D Grant Allows for the Continued Cultivation of People
by Michelle Jacobs, Community Relations Officer, DNREC

The Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) program may have been written out of the federal budget, but the legacy of their cooperative efforts lives on.  One example of such efforts is the Delaware Psychiatric Center (DPC) – Holloway Campus - Community Garden in New Castle, Delaware.  Earlier this spring, RC&D awarded the project a little over $6,000 to continue work in the new community garden project started in 2010.  The project was one of six winning applicants from a nationwide pool of over 150 applications. 

The community garden at DPC is designed to nurture both people and plants by providing settings for a variety of therapeutic electives such as working in the garden or sitting on a bench under an umbrella; providing space for growing fresh, healthy produce in an area where one has to travel a few miles to purchase fresh produce; and offering a place for reflection and respite according to the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Faith Kuehn, project manager.  Portions of the planned one-acre therapeutic and community garden are being implemented as funding becomes available. 

During 2010, garden designs and the logistics and management plan were completed, and a 20’ x 30’ garden showcasing flowers, herbs, and pumpkins was established.  The awarded funding provided by RC&D will allow for the implementation of the following goals set for the 2011 season:

·         establish the infrastructure for an expanded community and therapy garden complex;

·         procure tools and basic equipment;

·         erect a fence and gates in the vegetable garden;

·         integrate garden crops with life skills, recreation, occupational and art therapy for clients, and introduce horticulture therapy goals; and

·         develop a publicity plan to engage clients, employees and the public.  

The project supported RC&D goals of increasing opportunities for community and human development and agricultural education.  Additionally, the garden promotes sound land management and use as the food-producing garden replaces an area that was previously mowed grass. 

Photo caption: Staff and clients cultivated a small portion of the one acre site during the 2010 growing season as a temporary vegetable and herb garden to encourage community support for the larger space in the future.  Phases of the gardens will be implemented as funding becomes available. 

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