By Maddy Spellerberg for Island Eye News
The first urban garden that has grown out of a partnership between Seamon Whiteside and the Green Heart Project was unveiled last week at Sullivan’s Island Elementary School.
Since announcing the partnership earlier this year, landscape architecture and civil engineering firm Seamon Whiteside, and local nonprofit Green Heart, have solidified plans to design and construct urban gardens at three local area schools. On Sept. 18, the first of those gardens was opened here on Sullivan’s Island.
“We can’t be more thrilled with how this project turned out, and look forward to seeing it in action with the students of Sullivan’s Island Elementary” Drew Harrison, the Executive Director of Green Heart Project, said.
“The partnerships with Sullivan’s Island Elementary School, Charleston County School District and Seamon Whiteside have made our mission of connecting students to healthy food through school gardens possible. It truly was a community effort, and we are ready to get started on our next project.”
Green Heart is a non-profit organization that builds urban gardens and farm-to-school programs in the Charleston area. With a high value placed on health, education and community, the Green Heart Project pairs local volunteers with students to maintain school gardens while teaching academic standards and interpersonal skills. By doing so it looks to educate students and volunteers about healthy, local foods while fostering lasting relationships and building community. The project moved on to its newest garden beds at Meeting Street Elementary on Sept. 19.
“Our team is looking forward to working side-by-side with Green Heart to break ground on the second urban garden,” said Russ Seamon, the Director of Projects at Seamon Whiteside, which has assisted through the entire garden design process including an architectural consultation, charette, construction drawings and budgeting. “This partnership gives us the opportunity to give back to our community by doing what we love—building meaningful spaces for people.”
Through the hands-on learning experience of growing an urban garden, the farm to-school programs put on by 2016,Green Heart teach students the value of healthy, local food while reiterating classroom curriculum, teamwork, respect and entrepreneurship. The school gardens are maintained through class sessions and weekly volunteer hours. From seed to harvest, students participate in every aspect of the agricultural project.
Green Heart envisions sustainable gardens flourishing across Charleston County, and there are plans for a third garden to be constructed before the end of the 2015-2016 school year.