A Community Garden Takes Root in Warwick
In the early spring of 2010, the idea of a community garden for Warwick was first raised. Anyone who knows gardening knows that spring is much too late to begin thinking about starting a garden. Fortunately, we didnt know that much about gardening and no one told us it was impossible. Besides, things that might be impossible elsewhere turned out not to be impossible here in Warwick.
Within days, we had met with Karen Thomas of the Warwick Valley Community Center and she had proposed a perfect site behind the Center. Karen's vision was that a community garden would be a perfect fit for a community center, simultaneously bringing new people to the Center and establishing the start of an outdoor learning environment for the children already there.
Within a week, someone with a tractor had offered to rototill the lot. Someone else with a truck offered to bring in a load of compost and our rototiller offered to come back and rototill the compost into the soil.
And the volunteer offers kept coming: a farm equipment supplier offered us fencing at a great price; a local plumber offered to install a water line from the Center to the garden; lots of Warwick growers offered seedlings.
Now all we needed was gardeners! We held our first meeting and...
we had gardeners!
So, amazingly, on June 3, a core group of about a dozen members planted lettuce, tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, squash, radishes, and herbs in a 25x45 garden that was fenced in and had water.
And the gardeners came (in all sizes)
... and wonderful vegetables grew ...
... and beautiful flowers, too!
And ... in a matter of a few short months, Warwick had a wonderful community garden, a garden that was impressive enough to help Warwick win the prestigious International Communities in Bloom award.
In 2011, Warwick entered and won a national competition sponsored by the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation and Edy's Ice Cream and the garden is now surrounded by an orchard of 43 fruit trees - peaches, plums, apricots, pears, cherries, pawpaws, and Asian pears - which is now an important part of the outdoor environment at the Community Center.
The garden is now entering it's third year, three times its original size thanks to the plowing that was done by the FFA students at the high school. The vegetables we grow are shared among the member gardeners, the Community Center and the Warwick Ecumenical Food Pantry. Sister community gardens have been established in Greenwood Lake, the St. Stephens School, and the Warwick Reformed Church.
This year, 2012, our plans call for adding a multi-function, open-air pavilion that will serve as an outdoor classroom suitable for dance and yoga classes and also as a quiet place where the community can come and enjoy the garden, the orchard, and our host, the Warwick Community Center. The vision that Karen Thomas had in those early days is becoming a reality.
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