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Norwich CT: New Community Garden

  • Subject: [cg] Norwich CT: New Community Garden
  • From: adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 03 Apr 2006 11:56:48 -0400

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Article published Apr 3, 2006
Volunteers pitch in on Norwich garden
By JULIE A. 
VARUGHESE 
Norwich Bulletin 

NORWICH -- The Rose City Green Thumbs stemmed from the idea people love getting their hands dirty. 
Joyce Vanstory, the outgoing community resource coordinator at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center, said the future garden will not only help feed the hungry in the area who don't have access to fresh produce, but will be an educational resource. 
"People love the soil," she said, adding the best education is hands-on. 
There was something of a groundbreaking Sunday afternoon when volunteers raked and cleaned a quarter-acre plot of land adjacent to the King Center on Fairmount Street. 
The property has been littered through the years by passers-by, but Vanstory wants to stop that and inculculate a sense of pride in the garden. 
About 20 people arrived to roll up their sleeves, including a few workers and clients of the city's social service organizations. 
Aaron Chase, 29, a Reliance House resident, hopes to eventually grow tomatoes and zucchini. 
"I want to clean up the yard and help the elderly," he said. 
Sean Feeney, administrator at St. Vincent de Paul Place, a downtown soup kitchen, said he would like to assist in the upkeep of the garden as people plant their beds. 
He said he has already gotten a fair number of homeless men willing to contribute work hours toward the garden. 
"The great thing about Norwich," Feeney said, "is that all its social service agencies are interrelated, which is to the advantage of its clients." 
The property has a steep slope, which Rose City Green Thumbs President Paul Przybylski hopes can be turned into terraces for individual gardens. 
Any person or group from the community will be allowed a 4-foot-by-6-foot bed to raise organic produce. 
The organizers expect between 40 and 50 beds to be available. 
But Vanstory said, "Organic gardening is not just about not using pesticides." 
She said there will be classes taught on topics such as how to recover seeds and how to protect the soil in the winter. 
Vanstory said she is concerned that with the urbanization of the region, local children may forget where produce comes from. She said some children rarely get to eat fresh produce. 
"I'd like to see kids respect what's underneath them, what they walk on," she said. 
The Ecology Club of Norwich Free Academy has signed up to donate time to fixing up the property and gardening, she said. 
Vanstory also said the garden will teach children and others pride by enabling them to witness the growing process first-hand. 
Some children, she said, see what happens to a seed only when it is inside a cup filled with soil, a common classroom project. 
"That's about as far as they can go," she said. 
Vanstory hopes to bring different groups together with this community garden. 
Przybylski said he foresees street fairs with whole days spent cooking food of the different ethnic groups in the city. 
Natasha Przybylski, Paul Przybylski's 14-year-old daughter, said she wanted to see the garden become a place where people can come together and have fun. 
"I hope it uses this wonderful energy we have," she said. 
Vanstory said with the increasing development of Norwich and the surrounding area, she hopes the garden will be a reminder to people of the area's farming heritage. 
"I can't see this place disappearing into the foreground of all the things going on," Vanstory said. 


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