NH ROC builds garden bonanza with Better Together grant

Friendship Drive Cooperative is a 43-home community in Salem, N.H., that was purchased by its residents in September 2005. Nearly 80 percent of the people who live in the ethnically diverse and multigenerational co-op live below the poverty level. Friendship Drive also runs a nonprofit called Isaiah 58. That nonprofit’s five homes house families and individuals who would otherwise be homeless. Friendship Drive was awarded $2,000 to create a rolling, raised-bed community garden to make it easier for Members to grow vegetables to share with everyone living in the ROC. The grant money was also awarded to repurpose a small building to be used as a potting shed.

“It was a huge success,” said Pam Rothgaber, Board President at Friendship Drive Cooperative. “We fed so many residents in our park. We had tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, basil, all kinds of peppers and more. We ended up with huge plants and had more veggies than we knew what to do with.  We made salsa and stuffed peppers and all kinds of healthy things.  We enjoyed time together at our picnic table, and we now have a beautiful shed to store all our chairs and garden things in. Everyone pitched in and next year we plan to put in water barrels and more raised beds. We hope in the future to purchase a small green house to attach to the side of the shed so we can start our own plants each year.”

The Better Together Grants are funded by ROC USA and awarded by the ROC Association Directors each year. The grants of up to $2,000. Any ROC with a current or past Technical Assistance Contract with a ROC USA Certified TA Provider is eligible to apply. Awardees of the previous year’s Grants are not eligible to apply. The Better Together Grants program opens once per year. This year, the application period opens April 5, with applications due May 5. For more information, visit https://rocusa.org/grants/.

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