Revitalization of our core communities is a constant focus of our talented staff. Our team serves in a variety of volunteer capacities to help their own communities outside the office, but it is our work in the office that has far-reaching impact on these efforts. This reach took us, yet again, to the annual statewide conference of the Pennsylvania Downtown Center (PDC) to speak about ways to spur revitalization in downtowns.
Wednesday morning of the conference, we teamed with Paul Cook of Creek Hill Nurseries to speak on the topic of modern Victory Gardens. In the early part of the 20th Century, Americans were urged to plant a garden to help support the war effort. At that time, the pressures and demands of fighting a war on foreign shores put an increased emphasis on gardening at home. Now in the early 21st Century, Americans are being urged to plant a garden to address a more local and more subtle set of pressures like water quality, storm water pollution, a stressed centralized food system, and rising energy costs.
Gardens can handle these pressures and provide a variety of positive impacts. Some examples from our presentation are:
- A simple rain garden can filter pollution out of storm water runoff, improving water quality, while also recharging aquifers.
- Roof gardens or green roofs can lower the ambient temperature of a building roof by 30-40 degrees which can lower energy consumption used for cooling while improving efficiency of roof-mounted photovoltaic cells.
- Community gardens can provide a low-cost, local source for fresh produce, herbs, and grains, while providing a space to cultivate social interaction and community building.
The challenge issued at the conference and echoed here is to find ways to incorporate a modern victory garden into your community. The shape, size, and scale of the endeavor is unlimited and can fit almost anywhere. When you examine the multi-layered beneficial aspects of these gardens, fitting them in your community becomes a vigorous strategy for revitalization.
To view the presentation, click here: Victory Gardens for Today (12 MG)