Plant for Growth
Plant for Growth Organizes for Second Year of Community Collaboration and Healthy Eating
Wednesday evening more than forty community members came together at Somersworth Youth Safe Haven to share a meal, celebrate the success of the first year of their Plant for Growth project, and make plans for this summer’s community garden. The project, a collaborative effort of residents of the Somersworth Housing Complex, children and parents from Somersworth Youth Safe Haven, and students and faculty from UNH, has provided numerous opportunities for learning, sharing, and good eating.
“I really enjoy coming to these events,” said Matthew Spencer, Mayor of Somersworth, who attended this organizing meeting. “Plant for Growth is a great project that brings families together for healthy fun and I really enjoy the spirit of cooperation that is part of the work they do.”
Last year at this time, the garden area was a little used dirt plot surrounded by chain link fence. As a result of much hard work and care, this piece of property now hosts eight raised beds and a garden shed as well as providing a home to many different types of vegetables, flowers and herbs: some of which came back this spring and were incorporated into the salad served at the meeting.
Plans for this year include creating a mural on the side of the shed, building a bench with a grape arbor in the middle or the garden, and working with the children to design stepping stones throughout it. There will also be many opportunities for learning about nutrition and leadership as the project goes forward this year and community members are already working on a garden-related cookbook.
Partnerships with many community volunteers and students from the Thompson School's Community Leadership, Horticultural Technology, and Dietetic Technician and Forest Technology Programs as well as residents of UNH’s Jessie Doe Residence Hall are working together to make this happen. Thanks to a generous donation of seeds from Wentworth Gardens, work on the garden started this week.
“We are thrilled with both the community’s response to the project and with the great work that the UNH students do for it,” said Betty Eaton, Coordinator of Somersworth Youth Safe Haven. “The kids who come to SYSH really own this garden and work hard to make it a success.”
Plant for Growth will also welcome a new project member this year. Somersworth Early Learning Center, which is located next door to SYSH and the original garden, will create gardens on their property and work on developing shared learning and organizational structures with the Plant for Growth leadership team, a hardworking group of community members, SYSH kids, and UNH students and faculty who meet regularly to ensure that the success of this community garden continues to grow.