Philadelphia woman uses backyard greenhouse to feed her neighborhood

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- It looks like a typical home on a residential block in West Oak Lane, until you see the backyard.

"I get to feed my community, what could be more heavenly than that," said Pam Renninger, who, with the help of her brother, constructed a hydroponic greenhouse on her property.

"Then the coronavirus hit and we couldn't do anything hydroponically because we have the system half apart. We just decided to get dirt and grow vegetables to share with our neighbors," she said.

Renninger is now growing a variety of vegetables, including kale, cucumbers and tomatoes.

"I'm in that position where my age and my health, I can't go out and do anything to help anybody, but I've got this huge greenhouse sitting here doing nothing," she said.

She's doing her gardening organically, meaning she's not using any pesticides.

That leads to environmental benefits like building healthy soil and fighting the effects of global warming. She's also collecting her own rainwater and has begun composting for soil.

"Everything's gonna be high quality, really good for your food," she said.

Renninger says it's her way of passing the time during quarantine while also filling a need in her neighborhood.

"If I'm gonna be stuck in the house and I can't do anything, I'll garden," she said. "They can't work, they have no source of income...it stops me from feeling helpless, to help, to do anything to do any kind of service."
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