2013 was a banner year for Keene Community Garden Connections. The co-coordinators and faculty advisors have been working hard writing end of the year reports and future plans to our funder, The Rashti Foundation. It has been so inspiring to see how the CGC had taken off and all the accomplishments of our garden sites.
Thank you everyone!
It would be quite a long post if we listed all the achievements. Here are a few favorites and pictures of various happenings from last year. Stay tuned for more awesomeness is 2014.
Late Summer the CGC received a visitor, Roberto Perez, a Cuban Permaculture expert. Above is a picture of Michael and Andrew (co-coordinators), and community gardeners giving him a tour of the Harper Acres Garden site. Roberto spoke at the library about permaculture, a free community event sponsored by CGC.
Above is a picture of the 2013 Harvest Festival. A CGC tradition where all the garden sites come together to exchange stories, eat yummy food, celebrate achievements and connect with one another.
Shelly from Harper Acres teaches kiddos from the Clubhouse how to make an apple swan at the 2013 Harvest Festival.
New bed sheet mulched by volunteers at the Westmoreland garden site. Last year we donated over 1,000 pounds of food to the community. We want to increase that amount in 2014.
Harvest at the Westmoreland Site. This food was donated to the Community Kitchen, an organization in Keene serving free meals to community members 6 nights a week free of charge.
Harvest dinner and season recap dinner at Harper Acres. They sure are a bunch of dedicated gardeners!
Co-coordinator Marie helps garden site Rise put the gardens to rest with some super cute gardeners.
CGC Co-Coordinator Michael Hightower had a very successful, free cooking series this fall in partnership with the CGC and the Cheshire Country Conservation District. His grand finale was a pie making class. Community members came together to learn how to homemade crusts and different kinds of pies. They swapped tips and left with bellies full of pie plus 2 crusts to take home. Can’t beat that! Stay tuned for more classes this spring or summer.
Harper Acres ended the season with a potluck. Gardeners shared food and talked about the successes of the season. They already started planning for next year. Good work everyone!
The Woodward Home, through a generous Home Depot donation, is having a ramp built down to the garden beds. This will make the gardens more accessible for the senior residents who enjoy them.
The Westmoreland site had quite the successful season. Over 1,000 pounds of food were donated to community organizations. We hope to grow and donate even food next season. This picture shows sheet mulching, a technique to kill the grass and create new beds for next year.
CGC Co-Coordinator Sara teaches folks at Monadnock Peer Support how to plant garlic
Garden Friends -
It is that time of year again. Frost is upon us and we must admit gardening season is nearly over. Protecting the soil for the winter with a method such as sheet mulching is a highly suggested. Before doing so, be sure to plant some garlic! You will be delighted when it pops up in the springtime. Goodnight Gardens. We look forward to seeing you after your winter slumber.
One of my favorite things to do each week is to drive around Keene, NH and see how all of the CGC gardens are doing (Over 45 raised garden beds!). It always makes my smile a little larger. Here are some “before and after” pictures of our new sites (Rise, Benjamin Franklin School, Monadnock Peer Support Agency and Prospect Place). They are doing an amazing job growing vegetables and their organizations are enjoying the bountiful harvests!
This photo was taken before planting at Benjamin Franklin School :)
Photo taken late summer at Benjamin Franklin School!!! Wowza! Look at all that food
At Rise in Keene, NH, in spring.
Rise in Keene, NH, in late summer. They’ve been enjoying all sorts of fresh produce in their lunches at the daycare center.
These raised bed were planted at Monadnock Peer Support Agency!
They have been supporting huge harvests of greens, herbs, squash, tomatoes, beans, and much more!
Two CGC coordinators, as well as educators from NY, MA, NH, and VT went to Deb Habib’s workshop on School Gardening at Seeds of Solidarity Farm. Two of our new sites this year are schools, including Rise and Benjamin Franklin School. This workshop has given us many ideas on how to incorporate the gardens into curriculum here in Keene We are thankful to be around such inspiring people!
It was a long day that started in Brattleboro, gathering enough rough-cut hemlock for 18 raised garden beds. It took all day to get the wood, cut it to length and then deliver it to our sites. Each site will hold a separate bed building party, which will be held in two weeks! We cant wait to build these beds!CGC Co-coordinators from left to right: Michael Hightower, Andrew Herrick, Karen Alsen, Megan Kennedy
Our first workshop was a success! The new garden sites were all enthusiastic about this upcoming growing season and cant wait to start growing. It felt like a real community.
This Saturday we are presenting at Antioch for Earth Day. We will be presenting on garden site design and planning. Megan Kennedy and Andrew Herrick will conduct a workshop that will cover basic design and planning considerations when starting a vegetable garden. There will be two mini-lessons: one teaching about the universal, natural and human elements to consider when growing a vegetable garden and another discussing where to grow, this will include plant relationships, companion planting, space and shade. This workshop will provide beginner garden groups with the planning skills, knowledge, and confidence to design their own garden sites.
Here is a picture from out previous workshop.
This Wednesday is our first workshop with our new sites After a blizzard delayed our first meeting we are ready to think about gardening once again. We will tackle the complex issues of Site Design and Garden Bed Planning in a 4-5 hour intensive workshop with good food and new friends. We are getting excited to build more community gardens in addition to the 6 existing sites in Keene, NH this season.
Stay tuned to see how it went and get updates about our next workshop, Bed Building!
Last week, for the first time ever, CGC gave an epic presentation to the board or trustees. Former CGC master and Antioch alum, Libby Weiland came to town to join in on the fun. We want to thank Libby for being such a powerful presence during the presentation. Without her, CGC would not be what it is today!
In our discussion we highlighted the many benefits of garden-based education, including community food security, increased quality of life, economic and social wellbeing, as well as building community resilience. Also in the presentation we got to brag about our successes to date. Along with the invaluable services provided to Antioch students, we’ve built 6 garden sites, hosted a myriad of workshops, forums and connected a new community of gardeners to resources in Keene, many of which are children!
Also at this event, CGC unveiled our new promotional video! Thank you to all the people who helped to create this wonderful piece of art! Please check it out and give it a “Like!”
We are really excited to host this year’s first workshop on site design and garden bed planning on March 19th. Stay tuned to hear all about it!