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Friday, July 28, 2017

As Windham Community Garden grows so does the need for new committee members by Lorraine Glowczak

The Windham Community Garden, located on Route 202 next to the Windham Safety Building and public skate park, celebrated its seventh year by hosting a Morning in the Garden on Saturday, July 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. With donuts and coffee available, area Windham residents had the opportunity to stop by and take a look at the success of the gardens’ growth and discover ways to become involved as a community gardener as well.
 
Established in 2010, the Windham Community Garden was the vision of a few forward thinking individuals who thought that a community garden in Windham was needed and would be well received. “The first year, we had four gardeners but by the next year in 2011, we had 37 gardeners,” stated Pricilla Payne, who was one of the core group members to initiate the garden and serves as the secretary of the garden committee. “Now there are over 50 gardeners with 75 beds being used.”

http://fiddleheadcenter.org/index.htmlIn order to keep up with the success and growth of the garden, new members are being sought out to help with a variety of tasks. “As always, the garden committee is looking for new members,” Payne said. “There is always lots of maintenance to be done at the garden, especially in the spring when we are getting ready for the opening and in the fall when closing for the winter. If anyone has an interest in becoming involved we would love to talk to them.”

The benefits of having and being involved in a community garden are endless. The Parks and Recreation Department from St. Paul, MN took time and listed the many advantages of a community garden, like the one in Windham. Some benefits from that list include the following:

Increase a sense of community ownership and stewardship.
Foster the development of a community identity and spirit.
Bring people together from a wide variety of backgrounds (age, race, culture, social class).
Community gardening is recognized by the many police departments as an effective community crime prevention strategy.
Provide inter-generational exposure to cultural traditions.
It is a healthy, inexpensive activity for youth that can bring them closer to nature and allow them to interact with each other in a socially meaningful and physically productive way.
Add beauty to the community and heighten people's awareness and appreciation for living things.

And, of course, the ultimate benefit of a community garden is healthy food production, not only for
the individual but for others in society as well.

“In the past seven years, we have donated over 7,000 pounds of food to the food pantry,” Payne said. “And we always encourage all gardeners to give their overproduction to the pantry.” 

The committee works diligently to adhere to its mission to create a garden following organic practices, provide affordable garden plots, support a community of gardeners and to help promote a green and sustainable Windham. In order to do so, they participate in regular meetings, organize and execute fundraising efforts, write grant applications and spend a lot of time in the garden helping others. They also solicit donations on behalf of the garden.

“Our next goal is to place solar panels on the greenhouse so we can grow produce year round,” said Donna Walter, also a garden committee member. 

To obtain a solar panel, members will work on fundraising and grant writing efforts to name a few. “If there is anyone in the community who wishes to donate or make a contribution towards the solar panel and its installation, we will always accept that as well,” Walter continued.

The garden committee stated that the community has been very helpful in contributing to the garden’s   break from the heat while attending to their beds,” said Payne. “Also, Girl Scout Troop #1518 has two beds at the garden and one of those beds is growing carrots for the MSSPA horse rescue farm here in Windham.”
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success. “We like to thank the Shelter Man who generously donated a canopy and frame so that we have a nice place for gardeners to take

Other community organizations that the committee has identified as making contributions include Blue Seal Feeds, Inc. and Skillins Greenhouse, which have either donated or discounted a number of items to include seeds and hay. “We also have the Town of Windham to thank for a multitude of things,” stated Marge Govoni, garden committee member. “They supply us with a water source (Fire Department), wood chips, mowing the area around the exterior of the garden and lastly, allowing us to use this land which benefits us all as a community.”

Payne stated that committee member, Rachel Michaud, has gone above and beyond her role as a garden member “for rehabbing and repainting our sign and being our Master Social Media expert.”
The intertwining community effort and support is among the community garden’s greatest strengths. “This garden is a huge asset to the community and to the folks that garden here,” Payne said. “There is so much satisfaction in raising your own organic produce.”

https://www.egcu.org/homeThe Windham Garden Community will start taking reservations for the 2018 season in late fall. The cost for one plot on an annual basis is $30. For more information, visit the garden website at www.windhamcommunitygarden.org.

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