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Hartford Community Garden Tour

By Kerri Provost

August 20, 2010

There are over 300 community garden plots in Hartford, which means that an even greater number of people have the opportunity to grow (or attempt to grow) their own fruits, vegetables, and flowers. On Thursday evening, two bus loads of people (plus some cyclists) toured several of these gardens, checking out the creative choices made by this year’s gardeners.

Though some may be surprised about the presence of community gardens here, the first one in Hartford was established in the early 1970’s. Issues of “food security” are not new by a long shot, even if such phrases have become buzzwords in recent years. After creating a community garden in Keney Park, twelve more have been developed. How does one find space for such ventures in an urban setting? When a building is demolished, the land on which it sat often is left as a vacant, unkempt patch. Sometimes, these lots are converted into a more useful and attractive alternative — community garden space.

For this year’s tour– which began and ended at the Niles Street Garden–two “trolley” buses shuttled people between the gardens.

Several signs painted by city youth were a new addition to the Affleck Street Community Garden this season.

The Niles Street Garden offers views of interesting architecture in the Asylum Hill neighborhood.

A short conversation with Mayor Segarra confirmed suspicions that he is not at all like the old mayor. There was no entourage surrounding him, (though, after hearing how excited these kids were to get his autograph, I am sure he would have no problem getting volunteers) nor was the Director of Communications welded to Segarra’s hip. The Mayor showed himself to be accessible, polite, intelligent, and down-to-earth.

Back at the Niles Street Garden, dinner was served while a band played. A rain barrel was raffled off.

The biggest shocker of the evening? Mike McGarry can cook!

Reprinted with permission of Kerri Provost, author of the blog RealHartford. To view other stories on this topic, search RealHartford at http://www.realhartford.org/.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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