Before: The Perfect Palette

That's when we enrolled in Birch Community Services (BCS), a local nonprofit that provides food and services to more than 700 families in exchange for a small fee and at least two hours of volunteer work a month. The group oversees two community gardens, where members plant, weed, mulch, and harvest the produce, which is shared between them.

Thanks to the group's help in feeding our family, along with financial assistance from a nonprofit land trust that owns our property, we were able to buy this 1922 Craftsman cottage in 2009. I could finally have a garden of my own.

Shown: Though some of the sod was dying, the front yard received sunlight for most of the day—perfect for growing a vegetable garden.
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