Special to the Patriot-Bridge
The Charlestown Sprouts Community Garden is hosting a Grand Re-Opening to celebrate the completion of 30 new gardening plots, and another successful year of growing food for garden families. The celebration will include live music, Chinese cultural programming, and refreshments.
Charlestown Sprouts’ ongoing Sprouts Renewal project has been a 3 ½ year initiative to transform the garden into a more healthy, productive, and social space that is centered around the love and necessity of growing food.
“It’s taken more work and time than I had originally envisioned but the results have exceeded my expectations,” said Marius Gallitano, gardener and Charlestown Sprouts treasurer. “I feel the baseline goal of Sprouts was to construct an enjoyable gardening space while creating a wider, inclusive, social blend of people (and) this upcoming event will be a testament to these goals being fulfilled.” Mr. Gallitano joined Charlestown Sprouts to grow vegetables and meet others and said, “I now get to enjoy eating and sharing my garden’s bounty and am constantly meeting new people, not just gardeners, with whom I learn and connect. It’s pretty amazing!”
The Grand Re-Opening will be held on Saturday, October 1 from 11:00 – 3:00 pm, rain or shine, and is free and open to the public. There will be live music provided by Charlestown Sprouts board member Jesse Gallagher, a traditional Chinese Lion Dance to bring good luck to the Sprouts garden and Kung Fu show by Wah Lum Kung Fu & Tai Chi Academy, and a Dragon Boat paddling demonstration by Ohana New England. A brief speaking program will thank supporters and funders for their collaborative work.
Sprouts Renewal project objectives’ are to reduce toxins in the soil, improve soil fertility, increase growing efficiency, and make the garden healthier and more accessible. Their design and construction management consultant, Fuss & O’Neill, Inc., led community meetings to gather community input, develop a sustainable plan, and secure permits. Demolition of the degraded garden began in early 2021, followed by construction of 38 gardening plots and new irrigation lines. This summer, another 30 gardening beds were constructed, the irrigation system was expanded, and seating areas were installed. In the coming months, fruit trees will be planted for the public to harvest, a perimeter fence will be installed, and a pergola will be constructed.
Charlestown Sprouts was organized by Oren McCleary and Rudy Doenges in the 1990s and originally served children and youth at the Charlestown Boys and Girls Club. It moved to its current location on Terminal Street in 1997. Today it is home to 68 gardening families.
The Charlestown Sprouts Community Garden is a welcoming natural space in Boston that brings together diverse people of all ages to grow, harvest, share, and eat healthy food.
Charlestown Sprouts is located in a Massachusetts designated environmental justice community which has high numbers of low-income, minority, and non-English speaking individuals. Gardener families come from countries in Asia, North America, the Caribbean, South America, and Europe. Because of the large number of low-income gardeners, Charlestown Sprouts is a critical neighborhood resource to harvest culturally appropriate food for families.
The Sprouts Renewal project has been funded by the City of Boston’s Grassroots Program; Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources’ Urban Agriculture Program; Oren Campbell McCleary Charitable Trust, Bank of America, N.A., Co-Trustee; the City of Boston’s Charlestown Community Impact Fund; RSM Boston Foundation; and other organizations and individual donors. Donations for the Sprouts Renewal project may be made by check to Charlestown Sprouts, Inc, PO Box 130407, Boston, MA 02113 or online at www.donorbox.org/sprouts-renewal.
Residents interested in being added to the Charlestown Sprouts garden plot waitlist should contact Gerald Robbins at 617-669-4509 or email [email protected].