By Erin Corrigan
Spring is here and the For The Good Community Gardens are getting growing again! Thanks to the early warm weather we’ve already had a few good work days with wonderful volunteers helping to get ready for the growing season.
My name’s Erin Corrigan and I’m writing to you as the new garden coordinator. I grew up north of Utica, in Remsen. I’ve been spending the past several years learning, working, and traveling with a focus on conservation, community building, local food and herbal medicine. Since going to school for Environmental Science I’ve spent months exploring and working in the country’s wildernesses’, I’ve volunteered on farms, with families, and intentional communities in South-East Asia, and worked in vegetable and medicinal herb farms in New York, Vermont, and Maine.
I believe strongly that access to fresh local food, medicinal plants, and a connection to the earth is a necessity for all people. To me, the re-learning of how to grow, tend, and harvest this food and medicine in a way that’s mutually supportive for both humans and nature is an essential piece to being resilient, healthy, and free as communities and as individuals.
Community gardens all over the country are playing an essential role in fulfilling these needs, specifically in urban neighborhoods.
Through my travels I’ve been particularly interested in community gardens as opportunities for empowerment and re-connection to the land. A garden is a place where we can reclaim responsibility for our own sustenance and develop mutually supportive relationships with other members in our community. Upon returning home to the Mohawk Valley I’ve been seeing the potential for gardens and food forests in every vacant lot, and open space so I was very excited to discover that there are many long-lasting community gardens in Utica already developed and ready to be further utilized by the community, such as those with For The Good. I feel a strong sense of responsibility to share what I’ve been able to learn with this community and am excited to learn from all of you in return.
This year community gardens are especially important as food insecurity has increased with the Covid-19 outbreak. For The Good’s gardens look especially to support marginalized communities that have felt this insecurity long before this pandemic and are now being disproportionately affected. In light of the pandemic we are making sure to follow all precautions and recommendations and are coming to the gardens in very small numbers and working at least several feet apart from each other. We’re very fortunate that there’s so much space in the garden that social distancing is easy while we still have the benefit of some community interaction.
We care for two community gardens which have been providing fresh food, a connection to the land, meaningful community engagement, and gardening education for this community that is otherwise without sufficient access to these necessities since 2008. One is located on Linwood Place and the other is between Mohawk and Hubble on Jay Street. We welcome you to come by either garden and feel free to walk in and learn more from those inside when the gates are open!
To make this year’s garden as successful as it has the potential to be, I’d like to reach out to you, the community, for support. We need additional support in resources, volunteers, and in garden members.
We are accepting donations such as shovels, rakes, pitchforks, wheelbarrows, hoes, and hand tools, seeds and plants.
We are also looking for volunteer support from community construction businesses in building our raised bed boxes that have fallen into disrepair over years of use. The raised bed boxes are essential because much of the city’s soil has been contaminated.
If your business can help please contact ForTheGoodInc@gmail.com and we will share more details about the project. We would like this to be completed by May if possible.
At the heart of a community garden are the gardeners! Would you or someone you know like to become a member of the gardens? It’s free! We just ask that each member contributes some time and effort to help grow the food, and in turn we all share in the harvest. Whether you’ve gardened before or you’re new and looking to learn, everyone is warmly welcome.
If you would like to join the gardens or offer support in anyway please contact email@example.com or call or visit the ForTheGood office at 315-797-2417, 1113 Linwood Place, Utica, NY.
Thank you for taking the time to read! Wishing you all much love, support, and strength during our current time of uncertainty.