Early this morning, a local volunteer and I harvested:
13 bags of lettuce
1 lb of green beans
8 bell peppers
and 4 lbs of broccoli/cauliflower!
The green beans are just getting started. The tomatoes are luscious, but still green. The lettuce seedlings will be ready for next month's food distribution day. If you have a 20 min block of time, please stop by and pick some weeds~ they are at their height right now, and I'm juggling a lot this month, so it would be greatly appreciated.
Georgia Macy, the food bank's director, was thrilled to have this much fresh produce, especially because a NY state inspector was planning to visit. Last visit, he requested that they provide more fresh foods. Hopefully, we can continue to grow more and better!
This is a copy of the report made for our local town meeting. The Neighbors Helping Neighbors Garden has served 25 local families, and distributed donations of approximately 300 seed packets/potatoes, 25 various hand tools, and 15 books/informative handouts.
We have produced 12 bags of fresh produce for the food pantry, with many more to come. August and September's produce bags will include 6 heads of broccoli, lettuce, radish, green beans and tomatoes. October's bags will also include potatoes, all produced without pesticides.
2 families have helped established the garden, while 3 families have assisted with maintaing the garden.
The blog has had over 500 views, and donations through it have helped to pay for the fence, hardware and compost. Notably, the largest donation was from a family in Australia.
"The measure of a life, after all, is not its duration, but its donation."
Corrie Ten Boom
Thank you for all of the donations to the Neighbors Helping Neighbors Garden. All of the forms of help have been appreciated; our combined effort, inspiration, money, enthusiasm, seeds and tools is what has made it all possible.
We want to thank our Australian friends, Bigchief Daddydave and Michelle Stitson for donating a generous amount of money a Second time to help us reach our goal, providing the rest of the money to pay for the fence and compost! It's an amazing feeling to be supported internationally by a family of 6.
One earth, folks. Really. That's all we have. If we can help each other learn a better way, a healthier way, well... that's what I would call a life well lived. It's a responsibility to care for our communities by helping folks fall in love with gardening and good food, learning to feed their families. In this small way, we are able to respond to the interrelatedness of the worldwide crises.
I'll continue the gratitude train by thanking
Jared McCargar and Maureen Snell Mccargar of Hopkinton, New York
Renee Stauffer and Stauffer Farms LLC
Dani Lindquist of Pennsylvania
Elliott's Farm & Home Supply, Inc.
Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County
Whitten Farm of Winthrop
Slaters of Nicholville
Henry and Jan Keller
McKee's Construction of Hopkinton
and All of the grateful recipients and folks who spread the word about our project... thank you <3
Thank you to those who nominated us for GardenShare's Growing Community Award: Rebecca Pickens, Sustainable Living Project / Local Living Festival and others :)
Annnnnnd, Thank You to the Food is Free Project- your FB presence is most delightful and inspiring :)
Check back here on the blog for events, photos, inspiration and musings.
If you have a specific question, idea or conversation topic, leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
T h a n k y o u ~*
Please consider nominating our Neighbors Helping Neighbors Garden for GardenShare's Growing Community Award.
"The award recognizes a person or organization who has dedicated time and energy to strengthening a community-based food system... advocating for a healthier food supply"
Inspiring other folks to start a local community garden for their food bank, and encouraging more backyard gardens would be a great joy in being nominated for this award. Also, if folks felt motivated to visit our blog and donate through our Fundly.com account, we would be very grateful.
We are $50 short of our current goal (YAY!) and would use any more funds to extend the season, expand the garden, and any unforeseen expenses (like a bug spray or scarecrow). Furthermore, we could use $ to have a basic cooking and preserving class someday, to help others learn how to use garden produce.
We've served 25 local families, and distributed donations of approximately 300 seed packets/potatoes, 25 various hand tools, and 15 books/informative handouts.
I am thrilled with the quality and quantity we were able to fit!
There is a small jug containing a notebook and pencil hanging from the garden fence.
It contains the mission statement of Neighbors Helping Neighbors Garden, a Thank You list, a To-Do list, and contact info.
Can you please fill the water jug (hanging next to the info-jug) with water from the stream and water the seedlings next time you stop by?
The fence is almost finished~ we still need a bit more money to finish the gate and pay for the compost. We'll have a poster board and jar on display at Georgia Macy's garage sale to accept donations. Here's our Fundly account, if you would like to donate there:
Dustan McKee of McKee's Construction and Jared McCarger worked very well together this afternoon. I spread rabbit manure we purchased from Harry and Heather Radcliffe of St. Regis Falls.
Thank you to Mrs. Cardinal, the neighbor who let us plug in an extension cord to run our saws. She refused cash to supplement her electric bill. Her suggestions based on her many years of gardening the area are invaluable. Our garden will also benefit from her dynamic yard full of wildlife and flowers!
There is a little bit more to do before planting can begin. A final tilling (thank you Kellers!) will be done on Friday. Dustan McKee of McKee's Construction will be building a gate and installing a post soon too. More hardware needs to be bought. You can donate at our Fundly page on the blog post titled "Needs", or bring a little cash to put into our donation bucket at the garden site. You could also drop off a bag of cans or bottles as a donation.
Hope to see you on Sunday at 2PM, or later in the following weeks for watering, weeding and community summer fun! :)
On May 25th, the day after the work crew puts the fence together, and 5 days after the local frost free date occurs, we are welcoming families and friends to join us in planting the community garden.
At 2PM that Sunday, at the old entrance, you will find us across from the basketball court.
We will have a few tools (Thanks Stauffer Farms!), but please try to bring your own, and gloves if you would like them.
If it isn't possible for you to come that day, we welcome you to visit the garden, and tend to what it will need as the season progresses.
There will be a bucket for folks to carry to the stream and gently pour a cup of water on each plant.
There will be a few weeds to pull out here and there.
There's always the opportunity to talk with other folks about what's going on with our group.
And the second Friday of the month, we need to harvest early * 7:30AM * for delivery to the Hopkinton Food Pantry.
This past Saturday, I gave away donated seeds and tools to my neighbors.
After learning the stories behind the people the Neighbors Helping Neighbors Garden benefits, I feel grateful to help, even a little bit. I think you may too.
Here's a few stories:
A mother of four children requested a packet of kale seeds, because she's craving kale chips like the ones I made for her last summer. Kale, people. KALE.
A Christian teenager who is planning to someday be a mother of a large family wants to learn to garden, so I gave her seed packets of lettuce, peas, beans and squash. She also asked for calendula flower seeds after helping me harvest some last year to make an infused oil for our family's stock of winter lotion. She plans on sprinkling the petals onto salads and other foods for the festive appearance and medicinal qualities. She also accepted a hand cultivar.
An older gentleman with a cane came to talk about his concerns of his soil quality, which we were able to look up in the donated reference books on hand, and share our own experiences. We also talked about our preferences of varieties of our favorite vegetables. He admitted his inability to "do it all", meaning grow his own seedlings for all the tomatoes and peppers he needs this year, and thanked us for providing the opportunity for help. Our conversation was nearly 30 mins, and he left with a wonderful week-by-week garden planning book, and approximately 10 seed packets. About 10 minutes after he left, he returned to share his contact information so I could call him to help on the Maintenance Crew for the community garden.
A mother of 4 children under the age of four has asked for lettuce seeds to fill up her simple raised-bed garden. She believes this is the best and simplest vegetable for her family at this time that she can manage this year.
Widows, elders, families with lots of young children, and also, able-bodied friends that took a few packets of seeds to help lift the monthly budget and save a 20 min trip to the store or shipping fees.... These are the folks that the NHNG are helping. Low-income, Moderate-income or High-income; being here is what is making the difference.
We help more folks garden.
We share the abundance available, when we work together.
We inspire, educate and empower.
Lets eat more vegetables, reduce our carbon and water footprints by sourcing our food as local as possible and enjoy serving folks in our community.
Join me, just a little, and we can make the difference in both small and large ways.
A BIG Thank You! to: Stauffer Dairy Farm of Nicholville ----------------- tools, books
Agway/ Elliots of Winthrop ------------------------- seeds
Hip-Hip-Hooray! for the ground breaking of the Neighbors Helping Neighbors Community Garden!
at the Fort Jackson Park, near the old entrance, across from the basketball court
A b i g thank you to Dustan McKee of McKee's Construction for volunteering his time and labor to run the tiller, and thank you to Jan and Henry Keller for the use of their tiller! Another thank you to the Stauffer's of Nicholville for the landscape plastic and shovel!
We are really looking forward to all of the food going to local families, conversations about gardening and cooking, and sharing the love of our community.
We still need someone to donate compost and fencing materials (see blog post titled "Needs")
Our next step is to secure compost and fencing supplies, sourced as locally as possible.
A local rabbit farm sells compost for $50 for a one ton delivered load.
A local sawmill and hardware store could provide the boards need for a fence and gate around the garden for $100.
McKee's Construction has offered to donate the labor needed to install it.
If you would like to help us reach these goals, you can help pay for these materials directly.
-You can email the rabbit farm for compost at email@example.com, and offer to pay for some or all of the 1 ton load.
-McKee's Construction has a simple Contact Us on a page of their website www.McKeesConstruction.com where you can arrange to help pay for the fencing.
Or, you are welcome to send a donation through our Fundly page:
Food Production= food security and education- Community gardens enable people to have food in a national crisis situation by teaching through example and encouragement.
Nutrition- Research indicates that community gardeners eat more fruits and vegetables than those who do not.
Exercise- Physical activity is required to participate in a garden.
Mental Health- Interacting with plants and nature itself helps reduce stress and increase the gardener’s sense of wellness and belonging.
Community- Fostering a sense of community identity and stewardship among gardeners, the park’s community garden space could provide a place for folks of diverse backgrounds to interact and share cultural traditions.
Environmental Benefits- Increase biodiversity, reduce runoff from rain, recycle local organic materials, and reduce fossil fuel consumption from long-distance food transport.
Learning- People of all ages can acquire and share skills related to gardening, cooking, nutrition, health, culture, local history, etc.
Youth Empowerment- Community gardens provide a place for youth to explore gardening, nature and community.
Lengthened Income- Produce grown at the community garden will help local folks offset their grocery bill.
Crime Prevention- It is proven that community gardens can help reduce crime.
Property Values- Gardens of all kinds increase the value of properties than without.
Publicity- As part of the Outreach Committee, our garden will be toured by local newspapers, radio stations and other gardening groups.
Above all, a community garden can provide a sense of satisfaction and health for all involved.
The Neighbors Helping Neighbors Community Garden’s first mission is to help local folks grow their own gardens, and second mission is to nourish and educate the public through the establishment and maintenance of a communal garden.
Donations of seeds, seedlings, tools, compost and basic how-to books will be distributed at Georgia Macy's garage on the Saturday's after the food bank/pantry distribution days, which are the second Fridays of the month, setting 2 major NHNG distribution days as: April 12th May 10th
Pick-up will be from 10-11AM. Any tools not picked up will be donated to the NHNG maintenance crew, and any books not picked up will be donated to the Hopkinton Library.
The community garden will be filled with seed and seedling donations that aren’t picked up by folks for their own backyard gardens. Recipients at the Hopkinton food pantry will be aware that the fresh produce was grown at the park by volunteers, and harvested early that morning for delivery. Samples of the cooked food may be offered, as well as recipes.
The local businesses and individuals that have pledged seeds, seedlings, tools, compost and time toward our goal are the following:
Stauffer Dairy Farm of Nicholville ----------------- tools, books
Agway/ Elliots of Winthrop ------------------------- seeds
Agway of Potsdam ------------------------------------ seeds
Whitten Farm of Winthrop --------------------------- seedlings Slaters of Nicholville ---------------------------------- seeds and volunteer time in the community garden
If you would like to donate items for the Neighbors Helping Neighbors Gardening group, please send an email to NHNGarden@gmail.com or call Georgia Macy at 328-4168 to arrange a drop-off time.
I have requested the use of a small plot of land at the Hopkinton/Fort Jackson Park to be used for a community garden. Members of the town board have not approved our use of the space yet, after I submitted a letter of request at the February 2014 meeting. *Update: it's been tentatively approved!
I have designed a 30X40 plot for the area to the left of the basketball court by the old entrance. We will need plenty of compost donated, which a local rabbit farm has offered to assist with. *See "Needs" blog post for more information.
It will be maintained by a group of volunteers, led by myself, Carlyn McKee, as the primary contact for the garden. The town board has requested a list of Volunteers who will be helping with the project. So far, 5 families (10 adults, 6 children) have committed time to participate on the various crews, including Maintenance, Events (work parties, neighborhood parties, and educational workshops), Outreach and Community Relations, and a monthly Harvesting for the food pantry crew (second Friday of the month- early mornings). I expect many more volunteers to participate, including sororities, fraternities, scouting groups, church groups and other families. If you would like to volunteer, please send an email to NHNGarden@gmail.com
A schedule and contact information will posted at the garden.
Calendar of Events
Ground-Breaking Establishment Work Party, and Annual Meeting hereafter
Saturday, April 26th, 10AM May 24th- 10 AM Fence installation May 25th- 10 AM Planting!