As we close out the Garden of Hope for 2022, I want to touch base and give the final update for the year. What a year it was and the big news is our final calculation. Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of our volunteers, we grew and distributed 2.7 tons of fresh produce to our local pantries and families in need. 2.7 tons!!
This fresh organic produce was grown in essentially the same footprint we used last year which produced half this output. We are very grateful for the hard work of the volunteers and the very generous donations from supporters including the Elks, Dave Paganelli and the Dept. of Highways, James Martorano and the great team from Parks and Rec and all of our local officials. To be honest though – this achievement is all due to one person who I will mention at the end of this message.
As we look to 2023, our three big goals will be:
1) Start to use the undeveloped part of the GOH footprint to increase our output. We hope to increase our produce by 50%.
2) Begin to offer educational programs to the community. These projects will include open classes and demonstrations related to GOH related topics.
3) Increase our volunteer base. This initiative will include launching a website, speaking engagements, participating in community events and other outreach opportunities.
On Tuesday December 20th, Supervisor Matt Slater will honor our “Garden Guru” Janet Morra at his final Yorktown council meeting. Janet is one of two of the original Garden of Hope members that is still active with the garden. The other member is Bob Conboy from Graymoor Monastery who grows and provides many of the seedlings we use for the launch of the garden each spring.
No other person puts more time and energy into the Garden of Hope than Janet Morra. She is responsible for the 1) day to day vision and operations of the garden 2) working with volunteers to educate them and coordinate their labor and 3) inspire new volunteers and young people to get involved. Janet is a force of nature whom we all admire and love. She absolutely deserves the recognition that will be given to her at the town council meeting on Dec 20th and we hope you will tune in or attend the meeting to show her your appreciation.
That’s it for now. Wishing you the most joyous and blessed holiday season.
Rev. Paul Tesshin Silverman
Yorktown Garden of Hope – Head Cheerleader