HANDS is a non-profit that focuses on housing and neighborhood development through the high impact development of empty or troubled properties. In many ways their goals and practices align with ours, in terms of healthy and sustainable community development. From their website they write, “The HANDS’ strategy is built upon a working philosophy that believes that neighborhoods are revitalized by the actions of hundreds of individuals investing their time, their funds, their energy, and their hopes in the future of that neighborhood. HANDS believes the role of the CDC is to leverage those investment decisions, to bolster public sector action, and to generate more private sector investment.”
TGSUF created an organic garden for Daily Soup Cafe (http://www.dailysoupnewark.geomerx.com), at the request of Housing and Neighborhood Development Services (HANDS (http://www.handsinc.org). Daily Soup owner and chef Anthony White worked with Lorraine to choose crops that he wanted to use in his restaurant. Volunteers from all over the neighborhood helped clear the plot and plant the garden and some trees to boot. Valley National Bank volunteers prepared the boxes for planting. Kids who attend the Valley Settlement House after school program and summer school program are taking care of the garden throughout the growing season under GSUF supervision, learning about nutrition in addition to gardening. GSUF is also working with Jackie Fox, the director of the Valley Settlement House, to develop a curriculum-based gardening and nutrition program to be implemented during the regular school year. The garden really embodies a commitment to community involvement on the part of local government, residents, service organizations, and local businesses.