The community garden behind St. Paul’s was started in 2017 by the Master Gardeners of Delaware County. In 2018 Chester Eastside rented 8 beds for a children’s enrichment program in their after-school and summer camp programs. With the help of dedicated volunteers, the children’s program grew rapidly. In 2020 the Master Gardeners transferred full management of the garden to Chester Eastside. With the financial support of St. Paul’s and area churches, and the help of the Media Presbyterian Church Senior Craftsman, the garden space was reconfigured in 2021. It is now a beautiful, thriving space for children and community members and contributes hundreds of pounds of produce to the surrounding community each season.
The garden provides fresh grown produce to the community through two programs. When the Chester Eastside Out-of-School program is operating, the children take fresh produce that they have grown and harvested home to their families. When on break in June and August, the produce is contributed to the Chester Eastside Food Cupboard.
Children gain more than just fresh and nutritious produce. Over the past four years the children have developed gardening skills, learned about the life cycle of plants, metamorphosis, photosynthesis and composting. They keep journals and build math, science, and literacy skills and knowledge. The garden connects these energetic, enthusiastic, urban children to the earth and the life source of their food. They are very proud to bring food that they have grown home to their families.
The Chester Eastside-St. Paul’s Community Garden also invites community members to use space for their own gardens. So far we have three families from the community and are hoping to grow this part of the program.
The garden has also won recognition from the broader gardening community. In 2018 and 2019 we won first place in the Delaware County Master Gardeners’ Community Garden Contest and in 2021 the garden was featured in the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society quarterly magazine, GROW. For more information contact CEI or Barbara Nagel at firstname.lastname@example.org