Aerial View of South Worcester Playground
Old Pool Site (now a grassy lot, and awesome community garden!)
The Camp Street Community Garden is now enrolling! If you live in South Worcester (or very nearby) and would like a plot at the garden, please e-mail us to secure your spot for the 2017 Season! firstname.lastname@example.org
A little about the process of forming the garden, to where we’re at now… A constantly changing blurb on what on Earth we’re up to.
We know that kids (of all ages) are more likely to eat vegetables once they see how they’re grown, harvest them themselves, or participate in growing. People of all ages have healthier bodies and minds when they increase their intake of fruits and vegetables and time spent outdoors. Sure, we can go to the store and buy more vegetables-but there is nothing in the world like enjoying the fruits of your own labor.
Nuestro Huerto has been working with South Worcester community leaders and residents to create and maintain our very own community garden at the South Worcester Playground (aka Maloney’s Field) on Cambridge and Camp Street. Nuestro Huerto is delighted to share in the experience of South Worcester Residents growing their own food. In the summer of 2014, we built a little garden for the youth participating in the South Worcester Neighborhood’s summer program. The kids loved the things they planted, were excited to watch them grow, and are optimistic about what it would be like to have a garden where their pool once was.
Beginning Stages: In 2014-2015, the South Worcester Playground underwent a Master Planning process as well all city parks in the City of Worcester. We attended all of the community meetings at the neighborhood center as well as the final public planning meeting at the Department of Parks and Recreation near Green Hill Park to ensure that our voices were heard.
The consultants hired by the City brought various proposals to the table for what can be done on the property to improve it based on what folks at the meetings expressed. Feedback was provided by residents. We now have a general understanding of the layout for the coming years of implementation, and we know now for sure that we have a huge area reserved for us, so were successful in securing land!! Thank you Parks and Rec Board!
Funding allocation and scheduling will be up to the city. With the help of Holy Cross’s Working for Worcester funding program (a non-profit run entirely by college students!) and after many meetings, it took just a few hours with about 50 volunteers, including local carpenters to lead teams in building beds, we built FIFTY!! raised garden boxes that are 4×8 feet long, and 2 feet deep. Progress was so fast, that it was over before the workday was scheduled to be over! People pitched into rake, pick up trash, clean up leaf litter and trim the bittersweet off of the fence. Thank you to all of those awesome volunteers to helped out that day.
In the Spring of 2015, the City of Worcester delivered 13 dump truck loads of compost from the City-wide leaf and yard waste collection program. It was A LOT of dirt. We spent a handful of weekends, with dozens of people each workday, shoveling compost into wheelbarrows and dumping into the boxes. It was truly an incredible feat of human endurance, ingenuity and patience. What an inspiring process!! Those volunteers are truly heroic.
After a crazy, bumpy start with challenges access ingwater, the amount of energy and time required to fill up all the beds (that took weeks of tireless efforts by many selfless volunteers), what felt like a million phone calls coordinating what gardener would have which beds, in the Fall of 2015 we completed our first year an end-of-season work day to tear out all the dead plants to make way for Winter and Spring.
In the Spring of 2016, we were not-so-patiently waiting for our fresh delivery of compost to top off garden beds and build even more garden beds. Gardeners were ready to go, have their assigned garden boxes. Here’s to another successful season!
The past two years, and hopefully once again this season, Warren Farm & Sugarhouse have been donating their excess vegetable and herb seedlings to the garden to help gardeners get a jump start on the growing season. The seedlings are well cared for, look beautiful, and have provided loads of fresh food to the gardeners and their families. Thank you to the Warren Family! We could not have done this without you!
We are just about filled up for the 2017 garden season and we’re barely into March! The warm weather might have enticed people to get excited earlier-but we’re grateful that the process of enrolling gardeners this year went quickly and smoothly. We expect gardeners to be getting out into the garden come April.
If you are interested in getting involved, contact Jenna at CampStreetGarden@gmail.com.
If you would like to make a donation, please contact NuestroHuertoWorcester@gmail.com or
To Donate to the Camp Street Community Garden project, please send checks to:
“Worcester Roots” at 4 King Street, Worcester, MA 01610.
Thank you to our community collaborators:
South Worcester Neighborhood Center
The City of Worcester
The Regional Environmental Council
All of our incredible gardeners and volunteers
Webster Square Business Association
W.J. Hoey Tire Co, Inc.
Working for Worcester
Greater Worcester Communication Foundation
Warren Farm & Sugarhouse