Our mission at the Rooftop Garden at Middle Way House is to promote organic urban agriculture practices and serve as an educational tool while focusing on building relationships with at-risk youth and the community.
The Middle Way House rooftop garden began in 2010 with these goals: to produce fresh fruits and vegetables for consumption in the Emergency Shelter and thus increase the stock of nutritious food available to residents and reduce food costs for the organization, to save on energy costs by installing a green roof, and to provide a context for hands-on educational activities designed to contribute to the growth of young residents’ academic and social skills.
A major goal of the project is to increase food production. In the 2012 spring and summer growing seasons the rooftop garden produced over 120 pounds of food and this number is expected to increase in the 2013 season! We have added eight kid-size pools, a vertical growing tower, and numerous planters. The garden produces a variety of fruits and vegetables including squash, tomatoes, peppers, salad greens, cucumbers, herbs, eggplant, strawberries, watermelons, and onions.
Another essential goal is to have the garden be as sustainable as possible. The design and care of the garden are rooted in environmental consciousness. We have included reused and recycled growing containers and all-natural and organic growing medium, fertilizers (from our own vermiculture apparatus), and seeds. The water used on the roof is a collection of rainwater and air conditioning condensation.
The garden has become, and plans to continue to be, a setting for community engagement. Members of the community from various backgrounds have offered their support and interest in the project. We hope to continue in the future by including more garden tours and community classes.
The Garden Youth program has been successful throughout the year. Children in residence at The RISE are learning gardening principles, plant anatomy and care, water recycling, vermiculture, composting, soil amendment science, how to calculate weight per square foot for food production on the roof, and nutrition. We evaluate the students’ learning and plan to increase their skills and knowledge from year to year in various areas.
Though it has been a successful year for the project we are looking to improve by setting and accomplishing higher goals. We have become noteworthy within the community and we will work to keep the Middle Way Rooftop Garden in the news and in the forefront of the urban agriculture movement in Bloomington, giving due credit to the dedicated coordinators, interns, and volunteers. If you are interested in helping with the Rooftop Garden, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!
Food Works for Middle Way House
In 2002, Middle Way House launched the Food Works business to provide employment opportunities to survivors of domestic violence. Survivors would develop on-the-job culinary skills while earning a living wage. Over the years, Food Works has expanded to include special event catering, a store-front gourmet Grab-N-Go, and providing healthy lunches to a number of local schools.
Today, Food Works is cooperative venture between Middle Way House and Bloomingfoods. Every catering event supports Middle Way House services by including a 10% service charge, instead of a delivery charge or gratuity, which is then provided as a contribution to Middle Way House. Lunches, snacks and special orders picked up at the market provide a 7% service charge that is donated to shelter services.
Food Works Market is located in the commercial kitchen owned by Middle Way House at 318 S. Washington Street in Bloomington, Indiana.
Visit the Food Works website for more information.