Dwayne Cooper Garden of Hope
The Dwayne Cooper Garden of Hope is an urban farm, community vegetable garden and sunflower garden in the Hill District community. The site is a platform for education and training programs, farmer’s market space, and community events. The location of this site is the former Francis Court public housing community (intersection of Bedford Avenue & Francis Street) owned by the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh. For GTECH, this project combines our Land Use expertise with our Green Economy training and connectivity.
The purpose of the project is to:
- Reclaim a sizable footprint of vacant lot for a productive use
- Yield a significant amount of fresh vegetables for community consumption and distribution
- Serve as an educational and training platform,
- Create a local farmer’s market and market space,
- Provide a greenspace to encourage intergenerational activity, community gathering and events, and develop a unique collaborative model for producing urban food.
This project is a partnership with the Pittsburgh A. Philip Randolph Insititute (APRI), Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh (HACP), Grow Pittsburgh, Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank (GPCFB), the Ujamaa Collective, and GTECH Strategies. Thanks to the help of McAuley Ministries, we came together to work with the Hill District community in developing the Dwayne Cooper Garden of Hope. Throughout the season, a formerly distressed site that was inaccessible to neighborhood residents was transformed into a community gathering space, community garden and urban farm.
Over the course of the 2010, the Garden employed 2 adults and 5 youth and engaged dozens of community members hosting two community events in the early summer and late fall. Through the past season, the community and organizations involved grew over 300 pounds of fresh produce that was donated to local community. In 2011, we have increased the size of the farm and incorporated a more formal workforce development program.