The Green Heart Project

Column submitted by Lori De Filippo

Drone Shot

The Green Heart Project is a nonprofit operating in Charleston, South Carolina that builds garden-based, experiential learning projects and school garden programs to educate students, connect people, and cultivate community through growing, eating, and celebrating food. 

The Green Heart Project was founded in 2009 as a small school garden at Mitchell Elementary School in downtown Charleston with the intention of reconnecting their students with fresh, locally grown produce and providing garden-based learning opportunities. Local neighborhood residents identified a lack of access to whole, fresh fruits and vegetables in their neighborhood and founded the Project with the hopes of changing this fact. Together, with a group of friends and an open-minded principal looking for alternative ways to teach and inspire, they devised a plan to build an urban garden with a group of 3rd grade students, utilizing the experience as a service-learning project. 

In the first year, the Project quickly became more than an experiment in urban gardening. With students and volunteers working in the garden together a mentorship was fostered. It was soon realized that the students were growing personally and socially, just as the vegetables were growing big in the garden. The urban farm became an organic example of an important life lesson -- through hard work, teamwork, and respect for the process, you can literally bear the fruits of your labor. The volunteers became “Green Heart Buddies” – mentors who students could count on and learn with as they worked together in the garden. And it is from this model in volunteer-assisted service-learning that the Green Heart Project's mission and educational program was founded. 

Since our founding, The Green Heart Project has grown to serve around 3,000 students across 19 schools and community organizations in the Charleston area. We reach students aged PreK - 12th grade with Farm to School programs and host an annual summer Youth Internship Program, which employs high school students. In the summer of 2020, we expanded our operations with the construction of a half-acre urban farm on Charleston’s upper peninsula. The Urban Farm at Enston Home, located at 900 King Street, now serves as the hub of our operation and also hosts a weekly pay-what-you-can farm stand every Thursday evening from 3:00pm - 6:00pm that is open to the public.

Through farm to school programs, youth employment, and food access, we aim to build a healthier future for Charleston and a replicable model for community development. For more information on The Green Heart Project, visit

Volunteer opportunities can be found at Donations to support The Green Heart Project can be made through our website or mailed to The Green Heart Project, 759 King Street, Ste A, Charleston, SC.

Allie E. Astor
Marketing & Communications Manager
802.999.7278 | | @greenheartchs
Pronouns: she/her