Charter Oak Cultural Center is working to expand its Eats of the Street program with the addition of new container gardens on the streets of Hartford, arbors added to existing pots to increase food output, and the hiring of additional Hartford individuals experiencing homelessness to tend the pots throughout the city. Supported by a matching gift challenge from Sustainable CT, the program will be able to increase its overall food output by one ton of fresh vegetables – all available for free to residents of the community.

Charter Oak Cultural Center is calling on the community to join this initiative by donating to a crowdfunding campaign or volunteering in the effort. If the campaign reaches its $7,500 goal by its fundraising deadline of April 22, 2021 (Earth Day), the project will receive a matching grant of $7,500 from Sustainable CT’s Community Match Fund, which is an innovative funding resource for public, community-led sustainability projects. For project details and to donate, please visit our campaign page.

Charter Oak Cultural Center Executive Director Rabbi Donna Berman states, “Charter Oak’s Eats of the Street is a remarkable 360-degree initiative that places beautifully painted pots, decorated by Hartford artists, on our city’s streets. People in our community who are experiencing homelessness are hired to tend the container gardens throughout the growing season. The nutritious food that is grown can then be harvested and enjoyed by anyone in need. As such, Eats of the Street beautifies, feeds and employs Hartford.”


The program expansion will add wire arbors to the 19 existing pots in the city, allowing for the vertical growth of vegetables like beans and peas. The program will also be adding five gardens with arbors in new locations allowing for the hiring of five new gardeners. Eats of the Street, augmented by hydroponic systems, will be able to increase its overall food output to 3.5 tons of fresh vegetables.


Sustainable CT is an initiative of Eastern Connecticut State University’s Institute for Sustainable Energy that inspires, supports, and recognizes sustainability action by towns and cities statewide. The Community Match Fund — supported by the Smart Seed Fund, Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation and the Connecticut Green Bank —provides a dollar-for-dollar match to donations raised from the community, doubling local investment in projects. Anyone can lead a project and ideas can be proposed at any time. 


“Through the Community Match Fund, we aim to put residents at the forefront of creating positive, impactful change,” said Abe Hilding-Salorio, community outreach manager for Sustainable CT. “Match Fund projects are community led and community funded, demonstrating the power of people working together to make change in their communities.” Have a great idea for a public project in your community? Contact Sustainable CT at hildingsalorioa@easternct.edu


About Charter Oak Cultural CenterCharter Oak Cultural Center, housed in the first synagogue built in Connecticut, is a non-profit, multi-cultural arts center, committed to doing the work of social justice through the arts by offering performances, concerts, exhibits, lectures and other professional arts events from which no one is turned away for lack of funds, providing 1,000 Hartford children with a free, high quality arts education and making three innovative programs that offer educational and employment opportunities, in the arts, available to members of the homeless community. For more information, visit www.charteroakcenter.org

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