When Giving Point invited Sustenance Design to consult on a project at New Schools at Carver, we had no way of knowing what a transformative experience we were all in for.
With this project, the Sustenance Design team was able to turn the Carver community’s idea into a very tangible reality within the span of 6 months, meeting the dual goals of creating a gathering area to bring students together as well as adding edible plants and generally beautifying the landscape.
Giving Point is a non-profit that creates a way for students to track volunteer hours on line, and rewards volunteer hours through allowing students to apply for grants to support their chosen causes. In their work with Carver, students decided they wanted to address the lack of unity among the four ‘colleges’ housed on the campus. Interaction between colleges is based more on competition than cooperation, and through working with Giving Point, a group of students decided that a centralgarden would be a great way to bring the schools together.
This is where Sustenance entered the picture. After facilitating several student/teacher meetings to develop the purpose and structure of the garden, Sustenance created a design based on student input, and implemented the garden with the help of our wonderful install team (Greenspace Innovations), the YMCA spring break campers (including a group of exchange students from Guadalupe), and corporate volunteers from Comcast.
After meeting with the school facilities director, we found out that we could not tie in to the city water for irrigation, so we brought in our favorite rain water harvester, Paul Morgan with Rainharvest Company. He engineered two ingenious underground cisterns to catch overland flow without tying in to a single downspout, with an electric pump to irrigate the beds full of fruit trees, perennial herbs, and native pollinator plants.
Additionally, the students managed a campaign to sell engraved bricks to classmates, staff and alumni, which became part of central patio lined with raised beds and natural boulders for seating. Now, students spend time between classes hanging out on the patio, admiring their bricks and enjoying the inviting environment.
Sustenance Design looks forward to continuing to help schools achieve their educational garden visions.