You wouldn't think something as simple as a garden shed would be exciting, would you? But boy oh boy are we excited about the new shed at the Blust Avenue Teaching Garden!!
A new shed means more space in the hoop house, where much of our garden paraphernalia is stored. It also means space in the office shared by myself and two other members of our NELFI (North End Local Foods Initiative) staff, where we currently have stacks of garden supplies. And did I mention it will also empty my car? Yep, I have teaching supplies that I have been toting around in my tiny car for lack of storage space.
It may not seem like a huge thing, but being more organized will help us better serve the community - teaching youth and adults alike sustainable gardening methods. It will also improve the safety of the garden, with tools tucked neatly away in their proper place rather than tempting tiny hands.
A generous donation of materials, time, and labor from Lowe's has made it all possible through the Lowe's Heroes project.
Lowe’s Heroes is a company-wide volunteer program that offers Lowe’s employees the opportunity to support local community improvement projects. While projects vary by location, Lowe’s Heroes share a common goal – to make our communities better places to live.
Year-round, Lowe’s Heroes are committed to helping community centers, parks, schools, nonprofits and other organizations complete projects that support the needs of their communities.
"We have a strong tradition of volunteering," said Ken Kaiser, Lowe's Store Manager. "Our employees are committed to improving their communities, and they show their support by volunteering thousands of hours each year. Whether participating in community revitalization efforts after a disaster, conducting how-to clinics to help community members develop construction skills, helping out at K-12 schools or simply cleaning up local parks and beaches, Lowe’s employees are always there to lend a hand."
"Lowe’s Heroes include volunteers from our stores, distribution centers and customer support centers, and we’re proud to see that employees at all levels pitch in to help. Up until now, we’ve not formally tracked employee volunteer hours, but we plan to do so in the near future," he said.
True to his word, Tuesday's efforts at the garden included employees at all levels, and Ken himself put in a full day and then some, hands-on and side-by-side with the other Lowe's employees.
We also have at least one local volunteer to thank for his contribution to the shed effort: Cliff Ritchie. Cliff is the former owner of Ritchie's Market, the North End's last grocery store. His dedication to the North End didn't end when his store closed, as he is a regular volunteer at the Blust Avenue Teaching Garden, donating his time and equipment to make the load a little lighter for us all.
Busy, busy, busy!
The last week of March was a busy one! On Monday, we had gravel delivered to the Teaching Garden.
On Tuesday, Cliff moved the gravel to prep the shed site, and did an amazing job of getting it leveled out just right.
On Wednesday, a few Lowe's employees came to build the base for the shed. In no time at all, they had it done!
Then, the first week of April saw a very busy day at the garden, as Lowe's Heroes arrived bright and early to drop off supplies.
Shortly after, a team arrived to get started. These guys worked from 9 a.m. until 6:30 p.m., only stopping for a quick lunch.
They chatted with children that came for classes, patiently answering questions and even joking with the kids. The students loved the excitement!
At the end of the day, the roofers took over. They did an awesome job!
The shed isn't quite finished, and there's even more to come from Lowe's Heroes, so stay tuned!