The project, which was led by Maryview employees, saw six raised 4-by-8-foot plots opened on the grounds of Willet Hall, next door to the hospital. Maryview’s Green Team had planned a community garden for some time, but they were challenged by a lack of open space. Teaming up with the City of Portsmouth and Portsmouth Health Communities to plant a garden on public land presented a unique opportunity.
“Earth is a living thing, and many of us have gotten away from that concept. This garden will help people return to the earth for fresh produce and regain a sense of where our food originates,” said Warren Goodman, director of Food and Nutrition at Maryview and chair of the Bon Secours Green Team in Hampton Roads. Maryview employees are tending the gardens and can keep the produce or give it away.
“Once the process is smoothed out, we’ll open it up to the community,” Goodman said. He said this pilot project with the city may serve as an inspiration to other organizations.
To make the garden even greener, it was created with donated compost from McGill Compost, which is where Bon Secours Hampton Roads’ food services sends its food waste. Additionally, the garden will be watered using a free-standing rainwater recovery system put in place by Bon Secours.