Threefold Corner

Threefold Corner, Rain Gardens, and the
Hungry Hollow Co-op

Back before Hungry Hollow Road was paved, when Threefold Summer Conference guests were sleeping and eating in tents, a general store and bus stop was a popular gathering spot at the corner of Hungry Hollow and Chestnut Ridge roads. That tradition continues today, as the Hungry Hollow Co-op Natural Foods Market provides fresh, local and artisanal foods to our growing and diverse neighborhood.

Threefold Corner is also the site of an exciting demonstration project in ecological land care. The 2004 expansion and renovation of the Co-op included the construction of a 3,000-square-foot rain garden. A rain garden is a man-made vegetated swale. Its special landscaping and plantings serve to collect, filter, and return to the water table storm runoff that would otherwise go into sewers and waterways.

The benefits of rain gardens include:

Water conservation. Surface runoff that is captured in rain gardens recharges the local water table.

Erosion abatement. Surface runoff that is captured in rain gardens does not contribute to the stream inundation, flooding and erosion typical of developed suburban areas.

Pollution abatement. The dense root networks of rain garden plantings trap harmful nutrients and particulate matter before they can flow into local waterways.

Beautification. Rain garden plantings are an attractive and low-maintenance way to add visual interest to marginal areas of residential and commercial properties.

By building a rain garden, any homeowner can positively impact the local environment at a reasonable cost and with esthetically pleasing results. Rain gardens represent an opportunity to bring environmental activism into backyards everywhere, to get big results from inexpensive, attractive and incremental local actions. The Threefold Center is now developing a project to construct rain gardens at several of its single-family homes. Around this project are an array of public-education and research projects that will help promote our knowledge and understanding of this exciting and beneficial land stewardship tool.