Community garden flourishes

Rainwater harvesting system helps garden, community

A rainwater harvesting system at Escalante Community Garden in Tempe is not only supporting the sustainable growth of the garden but is also growing the self-sufficiency of the community, in part thanks to SRP.

Tony Perez, a Sustainability Program Strategist at SRP, along with a team of volunteers installed the system as part of a service project to celebrate the Arizona State University School of Sustainability’s 10th anniversary.

The system collects rainwater and stores it in a tank until it’s time to water the garden. SRP sponsored a portion of this project, which was finalized last summer.

“Community gardens play an important role in bringing people together while also providing a source of food for hunger-stricken individuals and families,” Perez said. “Education and the environment are important elements of the garden and align with SRP’s commitments, which is why it was important for SRP to be involved.”

The garden is run by the Tempe Community Action Agency (TCAA), which serves tens of thousands of people annually through its food pantry, senior centers, meal deliveries to homebound seniors, pre- and post-natal services, and overnight housing program. A portion of the garden’s harvest goes to the volunteers who work at least two hours a week in the garden; the TCAA food pantry receives the rest.

Ed Baker, Senior Strategist, Internet Communications, at SRP, is also Vice President of the TCAA board of directors. He said the garden empowers those in need to become self-sufficient by teaching them how to grow their own food at a low cost.

“TCAA holds things together for the people who need it most in our community,” Baker added. “This makes it critical that companies like SRP support groups like TCAA — to help people in our communities who are struggling to pull themselves from the grips of poverty.”

Community gardens are an easy way for anyone to learn more about how fruits and vegetables are grown while making a difference. Visit tempeaction.org or look for a community garden in your area.

Photos: Michael McNamara

Featured photo: Escalante Community Garden volunteers such as those pictured learn how to grow their own food and can take home a portion of the garden’s harvest. Rainwater stored in the tank behind them is used to water the garden. 

Heather Albert

Heather Albert

Heather is an Arizona native who works in Corporate Communications, overseeing SRP’s weekly employee publication. Outside of work, she likes to play sand volleyball, take her dog hiking, travel, read and bake pies.

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