The rejuvenated Sprouts Community Garden held a ribbon cutting and community celebration on June 26, and it was so successful that garden organizers said they hope to make it an annual event on the banks of the Little Mystic Channel.
Sprouts Board member Gerald Robbins said the event attracted a great turnout of gardeners and non-gardeners who were curious to see the space and celebrate the open space. Acting Mayor Kim Janey and State Rep. Dan Ryan were in attendance to help celebrate, and the event not only highlighted the new Sprouts Garden – which has been a challenged spot in recent years – but also the location along the waterfront.
“It was a great turnout and everyone was happy and excited,” said Robbins. “It is the first time that we’ve done anything down there that is for the broader community. We were excited to show people the space and maybe this becomes an annual event. What I like best was not the great turnout and introducing people to the new space, but really the possibilities I saw for the space and the space adjacent to the Little Mystic. A lot can be done down there and very little is done aside from lacrosse and softball and people shooting off fireworks. It proved to be a really nice gathering point.”
The day was highlighted by ethereal music by Charlestown musician Jesse Gallagher, as well as a Lion Dance performance from Wah Lum Kung Fu and Tai Chi Academy through the garden paths. A nice touch was integrating the waterfront into the garden event with a demonstration from the Ohana New England dragon boat crew. The crew is based in Fort Point Channel and traveled over to the Little Mystic Channel to give a nice demonstration aside the waterfront garden.
The Sprouts Garden has been a blighted, but well-used, community garden for the last decade. However, a new energy emerged – and new funding – in the last couple of years that proved to make the rehabilitation project a reality. Now, the garden boasts new plots, with about 15 more plots coming in Phase 2 of the project this fall. The garden now also boasts a waiting list – which was inconceivable under the previous configuration.
“We went from a wait list of zero to one that has 14 people now,” said Robbins. “Our gardeners are very diverse and may are not native to the United States. Many of them are Chinese and have a farming background, so this is very important to them for food security.”
Acting Mayor Janey said she was glad to see the space rejuvenated and catching popularity. She mentioned she comes from a community gardening background growing up in Roxbury, and said such spaces are a lesson in the value of usable, accessible open space.