By Dick Rothschild
In these times of hubris and acrimonious confrontation it is a relief to report on what can be accomplished when cooperation and consideration are harnessed to achieve a common goal. A case in point is The Duxbury Community Garden, created this spring on part of what was once a small village farm. This serendipitous accomplishment came about early this year, when Anne and George Baird, and Jim Savicki of Sustainable Duxbury met with John McCluskey, the administrator of The Stewart family Foundation. Sustainable Duxbury had been searching for town land on which to establish a community garden. McCloskey was seeking new ways to realize the Foundation’s mission of preserving the property and integrating programs for the benefit of the community.
Soon, the two parties had agreed on a community garden on the site and were fleshing out garden features and operating rules. Eighteen individual 12’ x 12’ garden plots would be made available to local residents at a nominal fee. Only organic fertilizer and organic pest and weed management would be allowed. If possible, horse manure from an adjacent property would be made available to the gardeners. Water from the old farm’s well would be piped to the garden in a way so that it could be used by gardeners on their individual plots as well as to water the overall garden during extended dry spells. Space in an existing shed would be made available to gardeners in which to store their tools.
At this point Sustainable Duxbury reached out to those who had earlier expressed interest in
community gardening and publicized the availability of garden plots to the community at large. Within a month the plots were over-subscribed.
In May, Sustainable Duxbury’s Mike Wilson and Jim Savicki headed up a small team to set the garden
boundaries, plow and fertilize the area. They laid out the individual plots, creating paths between them of wood
chips obtained by John McCloskey who also provided the irrigation piping and an electrified fence around the
Today these plots are being worked by gardeners from aged 8 to 80 with the old hands pitching in advice and encouragement to first time and less experienced gardeners. On one of the plots, provided by the Stewart Family Foundation, students of the Cardinal Cushing School are growing their own produce. And, they are harvesting blueberries from a patch elsewhere on the property. The Foundation has also enabled a Cardinal Cushing Center program in which students manage the chicken coops on the property. Five days a week students feed the chickens, clean the coop and collect fresh eggs which are then used by The Cardinal Cushing intergenerational community as an ingredient of their meals. Cranberry Hospice has also taken a plot in the Garden for their Fragile Footprints program which they co-sponsor with Jordan Hospital. It will be using the plot to create a “therapeutic garden,” part of its palliative care program for children with life limiting illnesses.
Exciting things, worth seeing, are going on in the new Duxbury Community Garden. So, Sustainable Duxbury and The Stewart Family Foundation are inviting the community to an “Open Garden” from 3-5 PM on Sunday July 22nd. At 66 Bayridge Lane, off Bay Road. While Chickens and Blueberries may be the top attractions for the younger set, the garden plots themselves, the manuring and composting system and the beehives are likely to intrigue the rest of us. Light refreshments will be served and the event is free. What better way for family members of all ages to enjoy and be enlightened for an hour or two in an enchanting place.
© R.D. Rothschild 2012