ladies in the landscape

In the Mississippi Delta, widespread use of pesticides and herbicides makes maintaining healthy waterways a particular concern. In order to combat polluted run-off from the Baptist Town Cottage site, the Greenwood-Leflore-Carroll Economic Development Foundation (GLCEDF) applied to Enterprise Community Partners for a “neighborhood scale green” grant to support construction of a storm water management demonstration garden. We were awarded a $2,000 grant for this project, and partnered with Brantley Snipes Landscape Design to combine the GLCEDF’s knowledge of barriers to workforce entry, with Brantley’s knowledge of storm-water gardens.

The result is both process and product. Brantley designed and purchased all materials for the garden, the EDF advertised the training program, and over the course of three days Brantley provided training in landscape installation and maintenance techniques to a group of eight women who are currently seeking employment. The result is the functioning storm-water management garden pictured below.

By weaving together social, environmental, and economic factors, this small grant is having impacts at a variety of scales. The natural filtration provided by the garden improves the quality of water as it enters our waterways, decreases the use of concrete or pipes, and will be a beautiful natural space between the new homes in Baptist Town. For the women involved in the program, not only were they compensated for their participation, they are being connected to potential employers who are seeking people with the skills they obtained through this program.

The last step in the project is a brochure that will document our process and our storm-water garden. We look forward to sharing this information with other development projects in the Mississippi Delta, and hope that this pilot project grows into something bigger.

Building upon my last post, this project underscores the interwoven nature of social and environmental goals and outcomes. When we collaborate in unexpected ways is when we best leverage our knowledge and our resources.

One thought on “ladies in the landscape

  1. Pingback: more than housing | architecture | equality

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