TOMPKINSVILLE — A local community garden that donates their produce to feed the homeless started an online fundraiser to get cash to build new infrastructure and buy seeds.
Bountiful Harvest, a hillside garden on Tompkins Circle, started an online campaign last week to try and raise $3,000 to build stairs to get into the garden, a watershed to collect rainwater, and seeds and tools to keep it going, said Michael Anicito, 34, organizer of the garden.
Volunteers previously used stairs from the next door apartment building to get into the steep, hilly garden, but this year they locked the gate and they've been relying on a plank of wood to get in.
"We need to build a stairway into the garden, there's an apartment building next door and they don't want us using their stairway anymore," Anicito said. "We're going use a watershed to collect rainwater. We'll use that to water all the beds instead of getting water from the fire hydrant."
The garden, which started six years ago, grows organic produce on nine different beds and donates it all to the Church That Never Closes in Prince's Bay, Anicito said.
"They do meals every night almost, and they house people who don't have a place to eat or live," said Anicito, a financial planner from New Springville. "The church is open literally 24/7. If somebody needs food or needs a place to stay they can go into that church at any time."
The garden, located on a plot of land owned by the pastor of the church, has a group of volunteers who maintain the beds and try to keep the weeds out. They previously survived on grants to stay alive and buy seeds and tools, but this year they took to the internet to get funds.
Aside from the staircase, the group also wants to build a watershed to collect rainwater to use in the garden. Currently, they have to run hoses from a fire hydrant several homes down to water the produce, and Anicito hopes the shed will be able to make them rely less on city water.
So far, the group has only raised a little under $200, but Anicito said he hopes he continues to work on the garden and give people access fresh, organic produce, who otherwise wouldn't.
"When you see somebody taste a tomato that's fresh for the first time, it feels good to know that you're a part of that," he said.