What is a Raised Bed Garden?
Raised bed gardens are built above ground on top of native soil or even concrete. The garden frame, typically made of wood, can vary in size and so is a great way to bring gardening to schools and businesses where in ground gardening may not be possible or permitted. This type of gardening allows you to have control over the soil texture and ingredients. The elevated soil surfaces of raised beds enhance accessibility to plants, and taller beds will better accommodate those with physical disabilities.
Our Raised Bed Garden Program
With roots stemming from the Gleaning Program in 1997, the raised bed garden program was adopted by the Food Bank in 2009 with six partner garden sites, and has now grown to over 110 sites being hosted at locations such as schools, corporations, senior centers and churches. These gardens contribute to the 33% of the fresh produce that we distribute to our network of food cupboards, meal sites and social service organizations. We are grateful to our many volunteers who tend these gardens from planning to harvest.
Our raised bed garden manager, Raina Ainslie, works with host sites for their initial garden set up and educational support. In 2018 our garden partners donated over 30,000 pounds of fresh vegetables to our partner food cupboards and agencies throughout Chester County. The map below shows the name, number of beds and location of all garden sites.
Seed to Supper
The Seed to Supper curriculum, available in English and Spanish (Siembra la Cena), is a 6-week course (2-hours per week) that covers: garden planning, building healthy soil, caring for the garden and harvesting/using your bounty. Classes are led by teams of 2 facilitators and are taught both indoors and outdoors with hands-on activities for 8-15 adult participants. We are seeking passionate volunteers to facilitate Seed to Supper classes in English, as well as individuals who can teach classes in Spanish. View details here.
Come Grow with Us
Check out our tutorial videos for planting and harvesting your raised bed garden.