A Neighborhood-Focused Approach to Stormwater Pollution Prevention NFWF presents funding for the Edible Rain Garden project.The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay has partnered with Church Hill Activities and Tutoring (CHAT), a faith-based non-profit that serves at-risk youth in the East End of Richmond, to demonstrate how traditional rain gardens can be used to direct rainwater to urban food production. CHAT was recently awarded a grant for nearly $180,000 from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation‘s Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund to support this project.

This partnership will enable CHAT to expand their youth summer job internship program to include building “edible rain gardens” designed by a coalition of stormwater and horticultural experts. This approach ties in stormwater pollution prevention with CHAT’s goal of teaching youth life skills and providing their program participants with fresh fruits and vegetables. The Alliance will work with a team of stormwater and horticultural experts including the Center for Watershed Protection, Sustainable Chesapeake, Virginia Cooperative Extension, and Richmond Master Gardeners to design the gardens and develop a how-to guide for constructing “edible rain gardens” throughout the Chesapeake Bay region using the gardens CHAT youth build as showcase examples. In addition to determining how to plant rain gardens with edible plants, we will strategically locate rain gardens in close proximity to raised garden beds and fruit and nut trees so that rainwater infiltration provides an irrigation source for urban food gardens.