Delaware Valley College’s Hope of the Harvest recently received a $46,000 grant from The Reinvestment Fund (TRF), a national leader in the financing of neighborhood revitalization.
The grant will help expand Hope of the Harvest, a project that grows fresh produce for area food pantries. The funding will allow Hope of the Harvest to produce more food during the traditional growing season, and also start growing food year-round in campus greenhouses, according to information from the college.
“There is a gap in the availability of fresh produce for low-income residents in this region after the traditional growing season ends,” said Delaware Valley College Dean of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Russell Redding. “This grant is going to allow us to help close this gap and provide healthy, fresh produce throughout the winter and spring months.”
The college will use the funding to convert two greenhouses so that they can be used to produce food during the winter. Additionally, one greenhouse will be upgraded for winter transplant production, so that more plants will be ready to go into the ground when the growing season starts. Renovations are expected to be complete in March 2014.
In its first year, the project produced nearly 16,000 pounds of produce with one acre on the College’s main campus. In 2013, the garden expanded to three acres split between DelVal’s main campus and its Roth Center for Sustainable Agriculture in North Wales, Pa.
The College estimates that the greenhouse improvements will produce approximately 4,800 pounds of additional produce during the winter and spring months during the second year. This winter and spring, the college estimates 1,000 pounds of food will be grown.
“The garden allows the students to use what they learn in class to solve a community problem, which is a critical part of education and a cornerstone of the DelVal experience,” said Redding. “This student involvement provides fresh fruits and vegetables necessary for good nutrition, while developing a future generation of problem solvers engaged in the fight against hunger.”
Members of the community are invited to volunteer and attend educational programs related to the garden. Click here to learn more.