It’s been a year since a seedling of an idea blossomed into a project generating great response from the Fall River community.
With a mission to provide a community space where residents can come together and grow fresh food, the Community Garden is an initiative at Bristol Community College sponsored by The Rotary Club of Fall River. Some of you may be aware of its roots, but for those who are new to the project, here’s how it came about. Last winter, I and fellow Rotary Club of Fall River board members Jo Ann Bentley and Carmen Aguilar started talking after a meeting and realized we had a common interest in making garden plots accessible to people who don’t have enough land of their own to grow a garden.
Jo Ann, who is a principal with Bentley Architect, Inc. and Carmen Aguilar, who, Dean of the Center for Workforce & Community Education at Bristol Community College and I turned our thoughts into action, resulting in The Rotary Club of Fall River Community Garden.
With a $1,000 seed grant from the New England Grassroots Environmental Fund – a Montpelier, VT organization with a mission to “energize and nurture long-term civic engagement in local initiatives that create and maintain healthy, just, safe and environmentally sustainable communities” – the Rotary Club of Fall River Community Garden (http://www.frrotary.org) took root.
This year 20 individual raised beds measuring 4x10 feet are being cultivated at Bristol Community College, with 15 of the planting beds to be maintained by the Fall River Rotary Club, Interact Club students at B.M.C. Durfee High School in Fall River and members of the Master Gardener program at Bristol Community College. Produce from those 15 beds will be donated to local soup kitchens, making this season’s community crop one that will yield benefit for those in our neighborhoods who have fallen on difficult times.
It is heartwarming to work on this project with such a diverse group of people, from long-time Rotary members to Durfee high teens to professional gardeners from BCC…all with the common goal to assist and nurture others in this community we call home.
Satisfaction, pride and contribution are the by-products of projects like the Rotary Club of Fall River Community Garden. What started out as a mission to provide a communal space where residents can come together and grow fresh produce has yielded much more in its second planting season. By sharing the harvest with our neighbors in need, the aptly named Community Garden cultivates kinship, nurturing not only the body but the soul.