The Crafton Community Farm is not your ordinary community garden! Currently in its first year, the garden was planned, built, top-soiled, mulched, planted, watered, weeded and is now being harvested by volunteers–who then donate most of the produce! It began as an idea from Crafton resident Andrea Marquis, who brought the idea to Crafton Borough at the end of last summer. With a generous grant and continuing advice from The Allegheny Grows branch of Grow Pittsburgh, as well as ongoing cooperation with the Crafton Borough, the garden is now thriving and its produce is regularly donated to the Crafton Ingram Community Food Pantry; the total amount of produce currently harvested from the summer of 2015 is nearing 1300 lbs. Volunteers weigh all produce harvested to help us secure future grants to keep the garden going, so we can continue to help our neighbors in need for years to come.
All produce is organic, grown from non-GMO seeds. This summer, volunteers harvested cucumbers, watermelon, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, ground cherries, strawberries, collards, kale, beans, nasturtium, lettuce, radishes, carrots, and a variety of herbs. Now, the acorn squash, rutabaga, beets, and okra are also beginning to mature. A second planting of greens is currently growing. Volunteers learn from each other and from professionals about the best way to grow, harvest–and even cook!–the produce.
Anyone is welcome to tour and browse through the garden, the pollinator garden around its border, and, if you’re dedicated, the compost. The garden always welcomes new volunteers, from seasoned green thumbs to curious beginners. We ask that you walk only on the paths and make sure that the gate is closed when you leave to keep the critters from snacking. Please always respect the food and the work of the volunteers by staying positive and helpful in this space. More information about the garden can be found on its Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/craftoncommunityfarm, or by contacting CraftonCommunityFarm@gmail.com. Volunteers meet every fourth Monday of the month at the pavilion behind the garden, and we have our beautiful logo T-shirts for sale as a fundraiser for the future needs of the garden.
Have you seen any untended fruit trees growing around your neighborhood? The Crafton Ingram Food Pantry would love your apples, berries, pears, or other fruit. If you have a fruiting tree, or know someone who does, please contact us at CraftonCommunityFarm@gmail.com so we can rally our volunteers to harvest the fruit when it is ripe. If the tree is not on your property, please remember to get the owner’s permission before you pick. Likewise, if you are enjoying a surplus of any type of veggies in your home garden, they would be most welcome at the Food Pantry. Email us at the above address to schedule a pickup!