Fresh veggies and a side of community

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Dean Hale and Carol Williams pick some of the peas that are being grown in a community garden on Grand Ave. E. The pilot project is providing food for its members as well as local food banks.
Dean Hale and Carol Williams pick some of the peas that are being grown in a community garden on Grand Ave. E. The pilot project is providing food for its members as well as local food banks.

A little bit of hard work on a 30 by 50 foot plot of land is paying off in a big way for members of the Cultivating Community vegetable garden on Grand Avenue East.

The project was started by Dean Hale as a way of providing a better diet and a sense of community for local residents.

Chatham Mazda from Chatham Voice on Vimeo.

In the two months since cultivation began, the plot has already provided a harvest for members and a surplus that has been donated to the Outreach for Hunger food bank.

“I reached out to some people I know and created a Facebook page and got a good response,” he said. “About 25 people were interested and about half that number are actively helping.”

The garden, located on the Chatham Waterworks property, began to take shape in late July and the first crops were planted August 21.

A variety of veggies have been planted including peas, cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, spinach, carrots, radishes, beets, onions, spinach and kale.

“We’ve already harvested 122 heads of lettuce and lots of other vegetables,” he said. “When it’s ripe, members take what they need and we donate the rest.”

By transplanting instead of using seeds on site, the turnaround to harvest is accelerated.

“If we start in April next year we could have up to six harvests of some crops.”

Carol Williams, one of those helping, said providing a local, organic and fresh form of vegetables is important.

“There are some people who don’t have access to the kind of food that’s best for them,” she said.

Hale said some of those who have joined the group had tried home gardens but couldn’t make them work.

“We have a lot of knowledge among the members and we help each other. It’s a way of meeting new people, sharing an interest and ending up with some great local food.”

Hale said similar gardens could be established right across the community.

“The entire cost of everything this year has been about $500 to $700,” he said. “For the amount of food we’re generating, it’s extremely affordable.”

He’s hoping a mild fall and some inexpensive covering to protect plants from frost could see the garden still producing until the beginning of December.

“It’s sustainable, it empowers people to grow their own food and it’s a great community experience,” he said.

For more information visit the group’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ChathamGardenWorkShare?fref=ts or email them at

mailto:ChathamGardenWorkshare@gmail.com.

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