The Peachtree-Pine Homeless Shelter, located on Pine Street in the SoNo district of downtown Atlanta just south of Midtown, is a one-hundred-thousand square-foot building that stretches from Peachtree Street to Courtland Street. The facility can house up to seven hundred homeless men nightly.
Feeding these homeless men takes a lot of effort … and food. So no one goes hungry, organizations across the country have been partnering to provide the homeless with urban rooftop gardens as a way to give them not only a healthy hobby, but also much-needed nutritional supplementation.
Peachtree-Pine Street Homeless Shelter’s rooftop garden is part of the 100 Urban Gardens Initiative, a partnership between PACT, WholeKids Foundation and Indiegogo, to build one-hundred urban gardens across one-hundred U.S. cities.
HighGrove’s HighHopes Foundation, a program where employees make tax deductible donations through payroll deductions to support local community service initiatives, recently donated a five-hundred dollar Home Depot gift card to Peachtree-Pine Homeless Shelter to aid in the purchasing of soils, amendments and seeds for this rooftop garden’s winter crop.
The benefits of a rooftop garden for the homeless
The Peachtree-Pine Homeless Shelter rooftop garden has space on its roof for a minimum of forty rectangular beds, as well as additional vertical beds. The project currently includes twenty-three single raised beds and has already produced small crops of lettuces, collards, kale, chard, carrots, radishes, squash, watermelon, zucchini and peppers.
The Task Force for the Homeless at Peachtree Pine has long been devoted to making sure opportunities are available to homeless people for training and employment in the technologies that produce, market and prepare clean food for themselves and others.
The rooftop garden gives homeless men the opportunity to learn how to tend a garden and grow their own food—skills they can use to live outside of the shelter and obtain or maintain jobs.
In addition to these functional skills, they learn the emotional benefits that come from gardening—something that gives them purpose, gets them off of the streets and helps them focus on a meaningful, sustainable task.
And, even better, all of the food harvested is used to feed the homeless in the shelter. A garden is an introduction to real, healthy food people need.
We’ve got high hopes
The focus of HighGrove Partner’s HighHopes program is to give employees the chance to give back to the community. They have assisted charitable organizations, schools and youth associations by participating in fund raising events, donating time and money to their causes and even sending care packages to soldiers in Iraq.
This rooftop garden project follows in the HighHopes program’s mission to provide community service to the people of Atlanta.
At HighGrove, we’re pleased to have aided the homeless in this community by giving them money for supplies to assist in building a great hobby and gaining better nutrition. Plus, the urban green space will continue to help the city by providing sustainable and aesthetic benefits.