Tue, 15 July 2008
July 15, 2008
Organic Gardening magazine helps
By Catherine Carlock/The Charlotte Observer
To serve the needy with fresh produce from their garden, the
Fried green tomatoes aren't just the stuff of summertime chick flicks. They're one of the staple foods of the
The center received a $9,000 grant from Organic Gardening magazine to install a rainwater harvesting system. The 1,600-gallon cistern collects runoff water from the
The roof is “the perfect rain collector,” garden program director Don Boekelheide said.
Instead of using only donated food, which is often close to expiration, the center can grow much of its own food for its soup kitchen.
“We grow things that people like to eat,” said Boekelheide. That includes okra, black-eyed peas, sweet potatoes, squash, cucumbers, and a summer mainstay – tomatoes.
Last summer's water restrictions forced the garden's food production to a bare minimum. And
“That's where the cistern comes in,” said Boekelheide.
This summer, instead of battling short periods of heavy rain followed by weeks of no rain at all, the cistern provides a consistent source of irrigation for the center's garden.
This week's thunderstorms have provided enough water to fill the entire tank.
“The cistern gives us the water to carry us between rainstorms,” Boekelheide said.
Boekelheide knows it's a small solution. But it's saving
“We're feeding people who are hungry here,” he said.