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Hershey Community Garden

The Hershey Community Garden is requesting funding to provide benches, tables and heavy gauge hoses on the grounds where the Gardens are located. The benches and tables will be made of high quality wood and the hoses will be dispersed throughout the plots to allow easy access for the gardeners.


$4,500

Awarded

Tell me a story about what has pleased or surprised you?

We are happy to report that The Hershey Community Garden was selected for the 2019 Best of Hummelstown Awards in the category of Community Gardens. We were happy to report that more than 600lbs of fresh produce was provide to The Hummelstown Food Bank!

What is the most interesting thing you have learned to date?

The hose reels were installed with high quality preventing “kinks” and damage to the hoses. In the prior year, they were just rolled up and left on the ground and were not properly cared for. Now, the hoses have lasted through 2 seasons. Much better use of funding!

How will you sustain the project beyond expended grant money?

Members of the Hershey Impact Group (Comprised of The Hershey Company, Hershey Entertainment and Resorts, and Penn State Health MSH Medical Center) and community volunteers are providing the expertise within the garden, located on the campus of the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

Our core volunteers (Please see list below with titles) are determined, along with the Hershey Impact Group to sustain the Hershey Community Garden through the continued support from the Impact Group Companies. The Hershey Company, Penn State Hershey Medical Center, and Hershey Entertainment and Resort has committed to helping each year for the maintenance and upkeep of the Garden.

Patty Wells – Manager, Customer Supply Chain Collaboration – The Hershey Company
Jim George – Community Relations Liaison – Penn State Hershey Medical Center
Kathleen McGraw – Hershey Entertainment and Resorts
Dave Warren – Assistant Manager of Inventory and Landscaping at Hershey Nursery
Katrina Briddell – Manager of Giving and Community Engagement – The Hershey Company

Finally, a Garden Manager has been hired as the key contact for the HCG and his sole responsibility is to oversee the day to day operations of the HCG and is responsible to answer questions or address issues that are raised. The Manager will also be responsible for interacting with garden patrons, facilitating feedback and communicating with both gardeners and the Hershey entities as appropriate. As the key contact, the Garden Manager is also tasked with helping to solve problems such as poorly-kept plots, other complaints or general issues.

What was the problem the project solved?

Provided hose reels and water hoses for our expansion of the garden from 125 raised beds to 226 raised beds. We also purchased 6 five-foot benches situated throughout the garden for the gardeners and their families to enjoy.

Who does the project help?

All gardeners and visitors. Moreover, water reels help community plot donations to local food banks, charity organizations and Cocoa Packs providing over 2,100 lbs of food in 2019.

What makes your solution unique?

There was nowhere to sit in the garden prior to the donation of the benches. The expansion from 125 to 226 could not be possible without the access and convenience of water, as we are an “accessible” Garden. All gardeners with varying degrees of physical and mental capabilities are welcome and encouraged to use our Garden. This means we do not allow for water lugging.

How did the project make a difference?

Allowed expansion from 125 to 226 plots. We were able to offer the tremendous health benefits of fresh organic foods and physical health benefits to more community member consequently lowering our Gardener Wait List. Larger community access means a healthier community.

What were the benefits? What were the results?

Majority of Gardeners reported: (Using a Pre and Post Garden Season Survey)

a. Spent 3-4 hrs. a week in the Garden – An increase from the anticipated 1-2hrs a week in Pre-Season Survey.

b. Increase in daily vegetable consumption – Post Season Results – 0 percent of Gardeners ate less than one serving of vegetables daily.

c. Increased daily fruit intake.

d. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the Healthiest), Gardeners increased their physical health Rating by 1

e. Frequency of cooking with their family increased.

f. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the Most Stressed) Gardeners decreased their stress level by 1.

Benches have served for many, young and old, to relax in the beauty of the garden while taking breaks and talking with new gardeners.

Can the project be replicated? How so?

Yes! In fact, we replicated our own garden. Originally, The Hershey Community Garden was only 1 acre. As each garden season pasted, our Community Garden waitlist increased and more and more organizations throughout the community came to us with their desire to feed the needy throughout our community. We knew we had to expand. Phase II went into effect and additional plots, sheds, benches and water reels were added to grow and meet the needs of our Community. This certainly could be done again in another location, as we have the expertise and volunteers who have already done so twice!