SW Gardens 2020 Grant Report
Friends of Southwest
31 December 2020
We had originally planned to use the generous grant funds from Friends of Southwest to host a spring kick-off event for the communal section of our garden, which usually attracts 40-50 people. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we had to cancel this event and readjust our planning for the communal section.
Once we learned that gardens were deemed essential under the Mayor’s emergency orders, we opened up the garden with social distancing measures in place and began planning for a tree planting event in the fall. We used funds from the Friends of Southwest grant to purchase new tools, watering cans, children’s tools, soil, mulch and food from Falafel Inc (SW restaurant) for the fall event, which was held on Halloween.
For our fall event, we were able to plant 10 new trees to add to our orchard thanks to support from DPR and Fruit Tree Planting Foundation who provided training and the trees for free. We noted the event was made possible by Friends of Southwest in our promotion of it on social media. At the event, we hosted 20 volunteers over the course of three hours and planted figs, plums, apple, and pear trees. All of these trees are outside of our garden fence meaning that in the future, anyone passing by the garden can benefit from our fruit harvest.
Below are a few testimonials from volunteers about their experience and why they wanted to participate in this activity.
“Laura and I wanted to participate in the tree planting event, in part to feel more connected to our neighborhood but also to do something nice for it. We look forward to seeing the apple tree we planted, ‘Toby 2’ [named after their cat], continue to grow in the years to come.
"We were surprised to learn about the wide variety of trees that could be planted in DC, and how it's safe to eat the fruit despite the soil conditions.” – Brandon Key, Southwest Resident
“I thoroughly enjoyed the tree planting volunteer opportunity held on Halloween. The arborist was super knowledgeable and engaging. I had been wanting to learn how to properly plant a tree and this SW Community Garden offering helped me reach that goal! I planted a plum tree; I learned about grafting and how to position the tree in the ground so that this sensitive part of the tree is more protected from the elements. When I got home, I bulleted out notes on all of the steps for planting so that I can refer to them in the future. It was just a really nice way to spend the day. Thank you!” – Olivia Sparer, SW Resident
“I wanted to participate in the tree planting event because I had never planted a tree before, and I wanted to put something in the ground that would be there for many years to come. I really enjoyed having the arborist there to teach us things like 1) how deep the tree should go in the ground 2) which direction it should face 3) how much water a tree requires. Also, I really enjoyed working with my teammate (can't quite remember her name) to tag-team the planting.” – Ashley Calgano, SW Resident
Thank you so much for this opportunity and your support as we navigated the pandemic and our mission to provide opportunities for SW residents to connect with the Earth through gardening.
SW Gardens President