Community Garden Steps Up to Meet New Need for Emergency Food

Rodney Reservoir Garden in Wilmington, Delaware. Photo credit: Christian Willauer

By Theresa Beardell, West Side Grows Together

The Rodney Reservoir Community Garden is the largest community garden in Wilmington, Delaware, with more than 6,100 square feet of growing space. After an urban agriculture mini-grant from the New Castle Conservation District allowed the garden to repair its infrastructure, the garden was able to help meet its community’s hunger needs by participating in the Harvest 2020 campaign, an effort organized by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society to encourage individuals to grow their own food and donate a portion to combat increasing hunger and food security.

In early July, the Delaware Center for Horticulture (DCH) and the Food Bank of Delaware adopted the campaign to engage every county in Delaware. The DCH organized outreach, promotion, and donation tracking, while the Food Bank of Delaware supported collection and distribution efforts by working with the food pantries who received donations. 

Rodney Reservoir Garden volunteers collected the garden’s extra produce and donated it to St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church’s food pantry just four city-blocks away. Donations included leafy greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, potatoes, and herbs. This neighbor-to-neighbor food work adds up; according to the official Harvest 2020 dashboard, 34,531 pounds of fresh produce have been donated by some 10,471 registered gardeners located across the Delaware Valley. Often overlooked by state and federal agriculture policies, urban farms and gardens can thrive with investment from state and local governments. 

Learn more about the New Castle Conservation District and their urban agriculture mini-grant program


Read more in How State and Federal Programs Support Farmers, Fishermen, Food Entrepreneurs and Consumers in the Northeast