The City of Harrisburg’s Reservoir Park greenhouse has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. The grant will be used towards refurbishing the greenhouse and on-site community gardens.

“I am very thankful to the Central PA Food Bank for providing this funding,” said Mayor Eric Papenfuse. “The greenhouse is an integral part of our City’s park system, and this grant will go a long way towards its revitalization.”

The greenhouse dates back to 1929 and sits on a one-acre garden off of Whitehall Street on the southwest side of Reservoir Park, immediately below the park’s Brownstone building. The Harrisburg Parks Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to raising money for the 26 City parks, is the fiscal agent for the greenhouse renovation project. It is a project of The Foundation for Enhancing Communities.

“We deeply appreciate this generous award from a vital City partner,” said Harrisburg Parks Foundation Secretary Zac Monnier. “We have been working with a large coalition to restore the Reservoir Park Greenhouse for several years now and are encouraged by the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank’s gift. We hope it attracts more donors and attention to this important project in the crown jewel of our City park system.”

The greenhouse, built by Lord & Burnham, the premier greenhouse manufacturer and builder of public conservatories in the United States, has been sitting unused for more than 20 years. Other Lord & Burnham installations include the notable New York Botanical Garden and United State Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C.

Christopher M. Nafe, the City’s sustainability manager, said that the goal of the greenhouse renovation is to provide City residents and visitors alike with a safe and welcoming place to learn about urban farming, edible gardening at home, and healthy and affordable cooking and eating.

Joe Arthur, Executive Director of the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, expressed his support for the greenhouse project.

Central Pennsylvania Food Bank is proud to make this impactful “Better Food, Better Access, Better Together” grant to help transform the Harrisburg’s Reservoir Park greenhouse,” he said. “Our investment will help create a wondrous urban green space that will inspire local youth to grow their own nutritious food, prepare and enjoy healthy meals, and hopefully consider agricultural studies and careers. This is us working with our community to end hunger in Harrisburg.”

Rafiyqa Muhammad, PDC, a member of the City’s Environmental Advisory Council and the owner of Sustainable Human Environment, LLC, has been a member of the greenhouse renovation working group since its inception. She thanked the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, as well as the Rotary Club of Harrisburg, which has two members on the greenhouse renovation working group and has donated $5,000 to date.

“Many of us have been working for years to bring the greenhouse and garden back to life, with the City’s and the community’s support,” she said. “With this grant, and the others we hope will follow, we will be able to create a space for everyone, one that is handicap accessible and designed to reconnect our children with one of the most fundamental and empowering things of all – our ability to grow healthy food and nurture healthy bodies and minds.”

Other members of the working group restoring the Reservoir Park greenhouse include the Homegrown Harrisburg Community Gardens Network, Tri-County Community Action, Messiah University Center for Sustainability, and Harrisburg Young Professionals of Color. The greenhouse was also previously awarded a $25,000 grant from the Whitt Family Foundation.

For more information on the greenhouse and how to donate and get involved, please contact Chris Nafe at cmnafe@harrisburgpa.gov.

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