The Mitzvah Garden is a special part of Beth Sholom’s commitment to the community. Volunteers come to help plant seeds, tend the garden, and grow fruits, vegetables and flowers. The harvest is then donated to those in need. Fruits and vegetable are given to the hungry through the Food Pantry and the flowers are cut and sent to the sick or grieving. Beth Sholom Mitzvah Food Pantry has added Project Home in Philadelphia to its list of recipients of fresh produce from the Mitzvah Garden. Beginning in the summer of 2012, fresh produce is available to the residents of one of Project Home's residences.
As part of this commitment to Tikkun Olam, the Kindergarten children of Beth Sholom's Goldman Preschool are involved in a yearlong service project with the Mitzvah Garden. The Kindergarten children grow plants from seed in the classroom during the winter, and then planting the seedlings in the spring. As their first job as volunteers, the children harvested this season’s remaining vegetables and herbs and sold them to raise money for new seeds and plants for the Mitzvah Garden.
Contact Alan Rothman at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215-885-1582
Installing Anti-gopher raised garden plot
The new Mitzvah Garden
Beth Sholom Social Action Committee funding, along with design and logistics expertise from horticulturist Brad Baker, CPH, and his organization Grass Roots, will allow volunteers to install three self-watering and groundhog-proof raised beds. "Raising beds to a three-foot height with smooth walls will keep out the produce-munching groundhogs, which can't jump, while making harvesting chores more accessible," says Baker. His innovative design also includes the collection of 1,000 gallons of rain water beneath the garden, to be continually routed throughout the garden system via solar/wind-powered pumps.
The Wall Garden in the Teen Atrium, will produce what Baker has termed "mint popsicles. " Narrow teak boards (from Forest Stewardship Council-certified land) will hold non-soil media for growing a wide variety of mint: pineapple, lemon, orange and even cinnamon mint. Rain water purification and solar/wind generators sprouting from the south-facing garden wall provide the rest of the popsicle ingredients. Young and old will harvest a refreshing and healthy snack, or a fun way to flavor a cup of tea.
The Incubator Garden, nestled between a playground and a Taxus hedge, will feature an underground chamber, geo-thermally heated and cooled, to provide the constant temperature needed to germinate seed for food.
And the recycled Swing Set Greenhouse Garden will harvest solar/wind power and ample water storage to grow food year-round. It will employ a wind chimney to pull fresh air into the greenhouse and bring warmth from deep in the ground.