BEACON FALLS — A new garden has sprouted in town with the intention of growing community spirit along side vegetables, fruits and flowers.
The Beacon Falls Community Garden is in full bloom at the town-owned property at 35 Wolfe Ave. — known as the Tracy Lewis House.
The garden is in its first year and was started with three goals in mind: provide residents with educational opportunities that promote health and well-being, learn about the benefits of sustainable, eco-friendly gardening and encourage community participation to enrich the lives of all residents.
“We thought it was a great way to enhance community interaction and bring people together, as well as all the other benefits of gardening. We’re connecting people and eating food that we’re growing,” said Shannon Rodorigo, who is helping to run the community garden.
There are 20, 20-by-10-foot plots in the garden. They were offered to town residents on a first-come, first-served basis earlier this year for $25 a piece. The money goes back into the garden. This year the money was used to buy items such as a garden hose and mesh fencing for around the garden. Money was also used to create the garden, since there hadn’t been a garden on the property prior to this year.
At first Rodorigo said she was a little worried about finding enough people to take the 20 plots. However, the garden proved to be a big hit and all the plots are being used.
“I’m enjoying it immensely,” said resident Juliann Groth, who is one of the gardeners with a plot at the garden.
Groth lives in Chatfield Farms, a 55 and older community. She said her property is a little too small for a garden. Groth said she’s always loved gardening and is involved with the Harvest Now Garden at St. Michael’s Church in Beacon Falls, which grows produce to donate to those in need. So, she said, when the community garden was announced she decided to get a plot and see how it went.
So far, so good.
“It’s a really wonderful way for people to get involved, meet new people and learn new things about gardening,” said Groth, who is growing peppers, eggplant, mint, basil and tomatoes in her plot.
Organic gardening is one of the new things Groth is learning about at the garden. No herbicides or non-organic pesticides may be used at any time in the garden and organic gardening practices are encouraged.
“This is what we do in Beacon Falls. We promote community and organic gardening,” Rodorigo said.
The garden has embraced the notion of community through more than gardening. Two plots are dedicated to growing vegetables to donate to local soup kitchens or to sell at the weekly Beacon Falls Farm Stand. The money raised at the farm stand goes directly back into the garden’s fund. There is also a space in the garden for the Beacon Falls Library to hold lessons about gardening for children and adults.
For more information or to download an application for a garden plot next year, visit beaconfallscommunitygarden.webs.com.
Elio Gugliotti contributed to this article.