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Gardens For Good: Growing food locally for our neighbors

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By Regina Campbell

Gardens for Good is a newly formed community group which has committed to turning parts of our lawns into gardens and/or volunteering our time to grow fresh produce for neighbors who are patrons of the Council for Social Concern and the En Ka Food Pantry.  Gardens for Good is a project of the Winchester Farmers Market Community Hub and is supported by Wright-Locke Farm. Our mission is to increase the availability of fresh, local, healthy food to the diets of local food pantry patrons. We have committed to use regenerative, organic growing practices with the idea of growing food in an ecologically sustainable way that re-carbonizes the soil.

For me, joining this team has been a wonderful experience! I have met Winchester neighbors I never knew before. In the early spring we planned and built gardens for those who didn’t have one. My yard already has a substantial size vegetable garden and a 25-foot potato patch was added. Fred Yen from the Farmers Market started plants from seed to supplement what we individually bought. As our various plants grew, members gathered to shovel compost to mound growing potato patches. For my garden that meant a three cubic yard delivery! For those of us with gardens, if we need help with maintenance we are paired with helpers. I am very happy to see my helpers show up every few weeks to lend a hand for weeding! I also learned this year that planting clover as a cover crop in my garden not only keeps the weeds out, but adds nitrogen to the soil to promote plant health and growth. Fred Yen installed an irrigation system for my and other gardens. This not only is a healthier and more water conserving way to water, but saves me time! (It used to take me an hour to water my garden in previous summers.)

I have come to look forward to our weekly Zoom meetings when we discuss everything from growing tips to logistics of how to collect, clean, and distribute produce which is now coming in. Our group is comprised of folks with various levels of gardening experience and each with a great heart! We all have strengths and learn from each other. We have visited each other’s gardens to get ideas and instructions. We cover watering and harvesting for each other if we are away on vacation.

If you have a garden and find yourself harvesting more than your family can use, please contact me! We would love to add your produce to our collection for distribution to the pantries. There are drop off locations in our homes at each corner of town. We also can always use more volunteers in any capacity, so please consider joining the fun!

Regina Campbell

rcjp0805 @gmail.com

Regina Campbell is a physical therapist living and gardening on Mayflower Road. 

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