2017-06-14 / Front Page

Community garden provides ease of access to those with impaired mobility

By STEPHEN SEITZ

Gardener Diane Verger was hard at work on Wednesday, May 31 on her plot in Ludlow's Community Garden.
— STEPHEN SEITZ PHOTO
Gardener Diane Verger was hard at work on Wednesday, May 31 on her plot in Ludlow's Community Garden. — STEPHEN SEITZ PHOTO LUDLOW ― Nestled behind the building complex at Fletcher Farm School for the Arts and Crafts lies the Ludlow Community Garden.

“It’s all organic, and a 10-foot by 10-foot plot costs $15,” said master gardener Phil Carter.

The Ludlow Community Garden is part of a state-wide project called the Vermont Community Garden

Network; it is also approved the the UVM Extension.

According to its Web site, the network’s mission is to increase access to community gardens; develop

education and outreach programs to raise awareness of the gardens; and to include underserved

groups, among other goals.

It also includes accommodations for gardeners and visitors with mobility issues.

“We have raised beds for those who have difficulty bending over,” he said, “and the paths are smooth

and level.”

Carter said those who join receive compost, water, tools, and assistance.

“There’s a pond nearby,” said Carter. “The water comes down the hill, giving us a gravity-fed well. We

also make our own compost.”

The compost comes from the garden waste, which is piled up. Next year’s compost pile is already

underway.

“It breaks down nicely,” Carter said.

One corner of the garden is devoted to teaching children how to grow vegetables. Students from Ludlow’s school system and Windsor County Youth Services come in periodically to tend their plots.

There are other benefits, as well, according to Rosa Donahue.

“The gardeners will donate their extra produce to Black River / Good Neighbor Services’ food shelf,” she said.

The community garden group recently received a $3,000 grant from the New England Grassroots Environment Fund (NEGEF).

“We don’t currently accept food scraps,” Carter said. “The grant will allow us to experiment with food

scrap compost.”

NEGEF refers to these as “grow grants.” According to its Web site, the grant criteria include doing

community-based environmental work in New England; a volunteer organization, or a small group with

no more than two paid employees, and having an operating budget under $100,000. The goals are to better engage the community on environmental issues.

For more information, call Gary McIntyre at (802) 228-7178.

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