28 March 2012
Community Garden Revival: The Joy of Smelling like Dirt
Famed novelist and poet Margaret Atwood has to be a gardener. Who else could have written the words: "In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt."?
Atwood’s words will resonate with a growing number of gardeners in Woodstock who have been tempted by a Spring-like March to get their hands back in the soil. But over the past winter, some have been wondering whether the town's gardens will be ready for them this year.
It's easy to understand why they might be worried. Last fall, the 25 raised beds at Riverside Park were washed away, the entire garden at Mellishwood was swept down the river, and the community gardens at Chippers and Billings Farm were covered in up to 12 inches of silt.
But according to Sustainable Woodstock’s director Sally Miller, solutions have been found to help fix all of these problems, and once again this year, Woodstock will be able to defend its position as the town with the most community gardens per capita in the country!
Sustainable Woodstock’s ability to recover is made possible by some large grants it recently received. Over the winter, Miller submitted applications for grants made available by the Friends of Burlington Gardens under the Irene Recovery Fund. This fund was set up specifically to rebuild or relocate community gardens damaged by last year's violent storm, and was financed by generous grants from the Vermont Community Foundation and the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont.
"I'm delighted to say that we will receive a grants totaling $2500 to rebuild the gardens at Riverside Park, to reestablish the Mellishwood garden, and to provide compost to restore the community gardens in Pomfret and Woodstock," said Miller. "So let the planning begin! All of our communities should have their gardens back in operation this spring."
So if the balmy weather of March has got you thinking about the joys of being outdoors again, maybe you should consider signing up for an organic vegetable plot at one of the community gardens around town. Plots are available at King Farm in West Woodstock, Shepherd’s Hill Farm in Taftsville, Billings Farm in Woodstock, and Chippers in Pomfret. It could be your chance to get your hands in the soil, experience the satisfaction of growing your own vegetables, and end a spring day smelling like dirt.
by Christopher Bartlett