Activity Underway at New Community Project Home

Jeremiah Knupp -- July 30th, 2010

Over a month after they closed on the property, the transformation is underway at the New Community Project‘s sustainable living homestead on North Main Street in Harrisonburg. While interior renovations are waiting on professional lead and asbestos abatement services, changes are already appearing in the back yard.

Though only a few weeks old green bean, lima bean and cherry tomato plants are maturing in a small fenced-in garden. The produce is earmarked for local restaurants and the surplus will be sold at the Harrisonburg’s Farmers Market. A  wind rowed compost pile, built with food scraps collected from local restaurants and “trucked” in on bicycles, is mounding high beside the plot.

“We’re trying to develop a model that could be applied anywhere in Harrisonburg,” Adam Campbell, an educational outreach coordinator with the New Community Project, explained of the garden design as he strung lines for the climbing beans. “It’s our version of ‘Act Locally, Think Globally’.”

Campbell noted that while this year’s gardening got off to a late start, a more extensive garden that encompasses both the front and back yards will be planned for next year.

The original plans for the house to be operational by fall have been pushed back to a more realistic goal of having residents living there by winter.

According to Aaron Johnston, who works as a green building coordinator with the New Community Project, the lead and asbestos abatement process should be completed in a few weeks and the home will be ready for volunteers to start the demolition process.

“We’re gearing up to be focused on the house,” Johnston said, as he directed a group from the Brethren Volunteer Service as they built a foundation for a shed. “We’ll be gutting the whole thing. It’s fairly energy inefficient and we want to make it sustainable in the long run.”

” We hope what we accomplish will be a model of what can be done with volunteer power,” he added.

Those interested in supporting the New Community Project homestead or helping in the renovation process can contact Tom Benevento at or Aaron Johnston at

Photos by Holly Marcus

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One Response to “Activity Underway at New Community Project Home”

  1. Renee says:

    Great to see the new activity; and it’s cool BVS is involved, too!

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