"Cultivating Community" with Sustainable Victory Gardens by Greencoat®

DS Smith Packaging Reading is proud to contribute custom-designed, sustainable Greencoat® corrugated trays to hold seeds and plants for City of Reading's "Cultivating Community" iniative.

On Friday, April 17, 2020, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture issued state-wide guidance for community gardens to continue amid COVID-19, highlighting the importance of gardening for local food security during the pandemic.

Working swiftly in response to Secretary Redding’s call to action, a task force was created under the leadership of Reading Councilwoman Lucine Sihelnik to address concerns about community food security in the city of Reading.

The resulting program is “Cultivating Community,” a new collaborative initiative focused on historic victory gardening and food security in the City of Reading and surrounding Berk’s County.

Members include the City of Reading, DS Smith, the Food Trust, the Berks History Center, Reading’s Environmental Advisory Council, Berks Nature, the Berks Conservation District, Penn State Cooperative Extension and the Berks County Master Gardeners, collaborated with Berks Community Health Center, Helping Harvest, Reading Housing Authority and the 18th Wonder Improvement Association’s Neighborhood Alliance to better serve the community.

The “Cultivating Community” Victory Garden Task Force is a partnership of local organizations, businesses, and the City of Reading, including:

  • Soil, compost, and starter plants will be purchased to help stimulate local nurseries and farms with the help of the Food Trust of Philadelphia.
  • Penn State Master Gardeners will help assemble and prepare plantings.
  • DS Smith Packaging Reading, a District 1 manufacturer, custom-designed and donated sustainable Greencoat® corrugated trays to hold the seeds and plants.
  • The Victory Garden containers will be delivered with growing instructions and historical information in English and Spanish provided by the Berks History Center.
  • Additional resources will be available digitally such as online Victory Garden webinars hosted by the Penn State Berks Extension.
  • All participants will be encouraged to connect with other local victory gardeners to share ideas and resources by joining the Berks Victory Gardeners Facebook group, as well as follow the Taskforce campaign through the Councilwoman’s social media platforms.

Berks Victory Gardeners invite all citizens, community organizations, and businesses to get behind the revitalization of historic home food gardening, and home gardeners and institutions alike are welcome to join the movement by sharing resources and stories on the “Berks Victory Gardener” Facebook page and follow along on Instagram @BerksVictoryGardens.