Hudson Community Garden triples space in second year
By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Hudson – The volunteer-run Hudson Community Garden has grown significantly since it opened last spring. There were 32 raised beds last year. As of this year's opening day, April 14, there are 85 beds. Meanwhile, an Eagle Scout is building another 10 for hopefuls on a waiting list.
The idea of a community garden began in 2011 when Bobb Burgess and several other Hudson residents discovered they shared two common interests: social networking and gardening.
“We all came together via social networking with the interest in starting a garden in Hudson because surrounding towns had community gardens,” Burgess said. “So we started to put together a plan.”
After exploring a number of public and private sites, they ultimately settled on a public property next to the Hudson Portuguese Club on Port Street. The town offered the property and the Conservation Commission needed to approve it because it's under their jurisdiction.
“There were a lot of good things we liked about this piece of land,” Burgess said. “It's a good, central location within walking distance of downtown. There are a lot of people in the community who live in apartments or have small yards. We like its proximity to the Assabet River and the old stone bridge crossing the river over to Wood Park.”
However, the property needed substantial work. The Department of Public Works (DPW) agreed to help.
“No amount of volunteers could have cleared the property with hedge clippers,” Burgess said. “The DPW ripped out all the thorns and briars, and created the half acre that we have today.”
Burgess now leads the Garden Oversight Committee, which manages the property. Other committee members are Cathy Hoffman, Russ Litin, Danielle Moskowitz, Pat Wimmers and Sasha Wood.
Toward the end of last year's first season, the Garden Oversight Committee members attended a meeting of the Community Preservation Committee (CPC), which allots certain public funds for recreational and historical purposes. The gardeners presented a proposal for funds to expand the property. The CPC provided the community garden with $22,650 for a chain-link fence twice the size they requested, post and rail fencing, materials for additional beds, and fruit plantings for the common area.
“We'se tripling the size of the garden area this year,” Burgess said. “[The CPC grant] will be critical in us meeting the surprisingly high demand that we had from applicants this year. A lot of people out there want to be part of a project that's positive in so many different ways.”
The garden has three main missions: provide space to those who want it; educate people on the ways of gardening and agriculture; and give back to the community through charitable donations. This year, four beds will be dedicated to the Hudson Food Pantry.
“We'se looking for experienced gardeners who can help make sure that we have a bountiful harvest for the Food Pantry,” Burgess said.
Volunteer Cleanup Days are held monthly, usually each month's second Saturday.
Gardeners” plots start at $15 for the season. The garden depends on fundraising to pay liability insurance, which is about $800 a year. Burgess noted that several businesses and civic organizations have given monetary donations, and donated or discounted materials.
“The garden wouldn's exist if Lowe's hadn's donated us lumber last year for 30 beds, and all of the soil from Organic Mulch & Landscape Supply to put into those beds,” he said. “We like to think the community garden is a sign of what can happen when so many different people come together to do something to make Hudson an even better place to live.”
For more information, visit hudsoncommunitygarden.org.
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