The Green Heart Project, a nonprofit focused on education, healthy food and community, has completed its campaign of raising $2.4 million to build and support the Urban Farm at Enston Home. The farm is located at the William Enston Home, an affordable housing property at the intersection of King Street and Huger Street on the Upper Peninsula of Downtown Charleston. It serves as a central venue for Farm to School and outdoor education, youth development, healthy food access, and community building.
At the start of the Urban Farm project, it was estimated to require over a million dollars to succeed. “As a small nonprofit, we had never raised that amount of money,” said Jesse Blom, Executive Director of The Green Heart Project. “However, the community stepped up, and we received significant, early commitments that brought our campaign to the next phase of public fundraising. Throughout this campaign, we were continually humbled by the amount of generosity we received from friends, partners, and residents that allowed us to reach a once impossible goal.”
Over five years, the community supported the campaign with cash gifts, pledges, and in-kind donations. One of the leading in-kind donors was SeamonWhiteside (SW+), a full-service land design firm with offices throughout the Carolinas. SeamonWhiteside oversaw the urban farm design since its first conceptualization in 2017.
“We are so proud to work alongside The Green Heart Project toward this vision. Their mission of building meaningful spaces for people aligns closely with ours,” said Gary Collins, Vice President at SeamonWhiteside. “The community support over these past years is truly spectacular, and the continued interest and excitement of this project is what keeps it running and thriving.”
SeamonWhiteside committed valuable services to The Green Heart Project, from the permitting and design to the actual building of the Urban Farm. They also encouraged other contractors to donate services, bringing their total donation value to over $200,000.
The Urban Farm at Enston Home is a half-acre production farm, featuring 62 raised garden beds, a Farm Stand, and – coming soon – a fruit tree orchard. The Green Heart Project will host an official ribbon-cutting ceremony in Spring 2022. In the meantime, the Urban Farm is adding two additional structures alongside the Farm Stand, including the Community Pavilion with an outdoor classroom, and a Greenhouse where Green Heart can start its own plants from seed. Running the Urban Farm relies heavily on community support. People can help in three ways, by: donating, volunteering, or visiting the Farm Stand at 900 King Street on Thursdays between 3:30 – 6:00 p.m.
The Urban Farm also offers a new Youth Internship Program for high school students, developed to empower young people to cultivate their workplace and leadership skills, as they help to manage the urban farm. Additionally, the farm provides education to over 1,000 preK-12 students and community-building opportunities through public events, workshops and volunteer days. The Urban Farm yields approximately 3,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables yearly, which is donated to schools and sold on a pay-what-you-can scale to residents and neighbors at the weekly market.
“We have spent the past few years building the Urban Farm at Enston Home, and now we’re ready to start running & growing it to its full capacity,” says Amanda Howell, Development Director at The Green Heart Project. “With this incredible new infrastructure we’re beginning our work operating the farm, and making sure we do it sustainably.”
The Green Heart Project supports a total of 15 school and community partners with educational garden projects throughout Charleston, partnering with SeamonWhiteside to design and build each garden.
For more information on how to get involved or support the Urban Farm at Enston Home, please visit https://greenheartsc.org/urban-farm-at-enston-home/ or contact Jesse Blom at [email protected]. To support The Green Heart Project on GivingTuesday, visit https://chuffed.org/project/givegreenheart21
About The Green Heart Project
Founded in 2009, The Green Heart Project is a 501c©3 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 aims to educate students and volunteers about healthy, local foods while fostering lasting relationships and building community. For more information on how to get involved, please visit www.greenheartsc.org or follow The Green Heart Project on Facebook and Instagram.
SeamonWhiteside (SW+) is a full-service land design firm providing master planning, civil
engineering, landscape architecture, urban design services and permit coordination to public and private clients throughout the Carolinas. SW+ believes that crafting great places is achieved by blending a deep understanding of a client’s vision, strong relationships, collaborative design, and a passionate team. This approach results in innovative spaces that enrich lives and leave a lasting legacy for future generations. Headquartered in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, SeamonWhiteside also has offices in Summerville, Greenville, Spartanburg and Charlotte, North Carolina. For more information on SW+, visit www.seamonwhiteside.com.