Friday, July 5, 2024

Schuylkill County VISION hands the shovel to Schuylkill Haven Borough for Community Garden

Recently, Schuylkill County's VISION helped Schuylkill Haven Borough establish a community garden.

In 2019, Schuylkill County's VISION teamed up with the Borough of Schuylkill Haven and local partners, including Hannah Burke, to establish a community garden at Bubeck Park. 

This garden features four raised beds, an accessible bed, several container plots, and more. Community members can rent plots for a nominal fee, with some available at no cost to senior citizens, first responders, and veterans.

By 2021, the garden had received an upgrade with the installation of fencing. To keep costs low and minimize waste, VISION, Girl Scout Troop 03120, and volunteers repurposed chain-link fence from Schuylkill River Greenways to enclose the garden. 

In 2022, Jefferson Grange #1384, along with volunteers, managed community plots that supplied fresh produce to the Schuylkill Haven food pantry and other local projects. That same year, the Girl Scouts built the garden's first accessible raised bed.

VISION worked with David Noll, a recreation department staff member, resident, and gardener, to ensure the garden's management and facilitate its transition to the Borough of Schuylkill Haven. 

Community gardens like this one address public health concerns by increasing access to and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, while also providing opportunities for socialization, exercise, and outdoor activities. 

VISION collaborates with the Lehigh Valley Healthy Network, a key funder of the garden, to offer programs and community support focused on healthy eating and physical activity. Their projects range from creating community gardens to evaluating the bike and walkability of neighborhoods and organizing health fairs and community walks.

Additionally, VISION says Evans Network of Companies, a Schuylkill Haven business, played a crucial financial role in supporting the Schuylkill Haven Community Garden.

Pictured Above:  Schuylkill Haven Community Garden transition from Schuylkill County’s VISION to the Borough of Schuylkill Haven. Pictured from left to right: Hannah Burke, founding member; David Noll, Schuylkill Haven Recreation Department and community gardener; Mykal McCulloch, Schuylkill Haven Recreation Department Park and Facilities Manager; Michael Devlin, Schuylkill Haven Mayor; Jerry Bowman, borough council president and VISION board member; Mandy Fitzpatrick, Schuylkill VISION Executive Director; and (seated) Amy Burke, volunteer.