Staff Editorial: When community programs flourish, we all do

In last week’s issue of The Duke, we learned about Sunny’s Community Garden, which serves the Hill District and Manchester areas. The gardens are made from unused urban lots and are gathering places for neighbors to see and harvest where their healthy food comes from.

With projects started by passionate Pittsburghers like Sandi Welch, the green space is not the only thing that flourishes – it’s also our own knowledge of the world around us.

Volunteers work to build the gardens, but the community does the rest, giving the growers a sense of freedom. It can also provide happiness, can broaden your horizons and can even help you find a sense of belonging with other volunteers.

Our Center, an organization whose mission is to transform people’s lives by helping them reach their personal potential, discussed the importance of community engagement in a blog.

It said volunteering provides people with an indescribable feeling of a sense of fulfillment and a dose of gratitude. The blog also emphasizes how it strengthens a community since a strong community is one that has members supporting one another through light and dark times.

Projects like Sunny’s Garden allow people to learn how to grow, and it gives them access to fresh food in a city where healthy food can sometimes be difficult to buy or find. They not only allow neighborhoods to get involved but also benefit them by providing delicious fruits and vegetables and sometimes even new friends.

According to Grow Pittsburgh, growing your own food cultivates relaxation, helps save money and bolsters food security. With Grow Pittsburgh in 2022, there was an estimated 43,000 pounds of food grown at their 44 community gardens and 34,273 pounds of food grown at their urban farms.

Since it can be hard to find land to start growing crops in a city like Pittsburgh, these types of projects are extremely beneficial. They provide the land and allow the community to do the rest.

In addition, programs like Grow Pittsburgh and Sunny’s Community Garden provide classes and lessons on how to cook and use the items the neighborhoods are growing in case they’re unsure how to prepare meals with them.

Learning these skills is so important since schools typically don’t offer life lessons like these. It also offers free education, not forcing Pittsburghers to pay for information that should be accessible to them in the first place.

When programs like Sunny’s Community Garden flourish, so does Pittsburgh.