Janes Street Community Garden’s First Workday

The area surrounding Rhode Island’s Women’s and Infants Hospital houses a few usual suspects of food insecurity: fast food joints at every corner and not a vegetable in sight. At least, not a vegetable in sight yet.

After May 12th, a little known corner in the Southside will welcome another community garden to its ranks: Janes Street. Off of Alphonso, and across from the Wendy’s, this dead-end haven with Narragansett Bay views is tranquil enough to feel more “country vacation” than urban food producer.

In preparation for its first growing season, Janes Street had a major workday April 24: volunteers of all ages learned how to divide garden beds and lay mulch, brandishing power tools and measuring tape. Rebar was unearthed and hacked away; stakes drilled to secure wood-lined paths; weeds were pulled and laughs were had. Liza Sutton, SCLT Community Gardens Coordinator, could hardly contain her excitement (“beautiful!” “that looks great!” “yaaay!”), and Erika Rumbley, SCLT Community Gardens Network Coordinator, mediated volunteers who were so enthusiastic about the tasks at hand, they’d occasionally forget to share.

There was even a children’s corner, where playing in the dirt with spades and hand rakes provided hours of entertainment as parents carried out tasks of higher industry.

The workday was a huge success thanks to support from over thirty volunteers representing the International Institute, African Alliance, and Janes Street neighbors.

Many students of the International Institute were farmers in their country of origin, and received garden plots for the 2010 season through SCLT. The African Alliance currently has a successful community garden that is part of SCLT’s Community Gardens Network. Five families who live within a short walking distance of Janes Street will be gardening there this season. We’re thrilled!

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