Sheet Metal Workers Local 36 (SMART) members joined community volunteers April 27 to work on the Carondelet Food Patch, removing a huge stump, fixing a fence, clearing a flower bed and weeding and mulching trees for the community garden and “food forest” at Hurck Street and Alabama Avenue.
Local 36 Financial Secretary-Treasurer Jeremy Snyder, says the SMART International Union encourages volunteerism for community betterment projects and the community garden and food forest fit the bill for journeymen and apprentices looking for a rewarding project. “We’re trying to get everybody to give something back,” he said.
Laura Gatlin, a union nurse with AFGE Local 96 and member of the Carondelet Community Betterment Federation board of directors, said in addition to the garden vegetables, the food forest will also include fruit and nut trees and berry bushes. “The food that we grow here is going to be available to the community,” she said. “We’re hoping this will be a place where people can come and spend time and meet their neighbors.”
It was truly a community project. In addition to the Local 36 members, Missouri AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Jake Hummel brought by tools for the project. His wife, St. Louis 11th Ward Alderwoman Sarah Martin pitched in to help with the project which is in her ward. And Local 36 Business Representative Chris Brunnert provided a pulled pork lunch for the volunteers.
– SMART Local 36 & Labor Tribune photos