Pictured, left to right, are: Sheryl Joy, Katie Blanchard, Arlene Kjar, Dan Hudson, Erin Barnett, and Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin

Why are these people waving garden tools and smiling?

On Monday night the School Board approved a collaboration between Northfield School District Community Services and the Northfield Community Gardeners that will establish a community garden on the grounds of Greenvale Park Elementary.

Right now just a flat patch of snow-covered brown grass next to Greenvale Park’s Lone Oak Natural Area, in a few months the site will be full of lettuce, broccoli, tomatillos, and new friends.

Greenvale Park Community Garden will have space for 21 individuals and families to grow food and flowers on garden plots they maintain themselves. There will also be a communally tended plot with produce donated to the Food Shelf, and plots for Greenvale Park teachers to use for educational projects with their classrooms. Community Gardens allow people to grow fresh vegetables for themselves even if they don’t have yards to do it in. “Community Gardens bring so many benefits,” said Sheryl Joy, chairperson of the Northfield Community Gardeners. “They can really improve the nutrition of the families who participate, and they build community by encouraging people with different backgrounds to work together. It’s especially exciting to have this garden on school property, because there are so many great educational opportunities in a garden. It will also be a new lovely green space for Northfielders to visit.”

Participation in the new garden is open to anyone in Northfield who needs garden space, though there will be a number of plots initially reserved for families with children at Greenvale Park Elementary. Applications for participation will be accepted beginning March 12 (check back for more details and an online application soon!). There are also plenty of other ways to be involved in the garden, without taking full responsibility for a plot. The Gardeners will be seeking people who can help with tilling and fencing the first year garden, or help with tending the food shelf plot, as well as donations of used garden tools in good condition.

The Center for Sustainable Living is the fiscal agent for the Northfield Community Gardeners, a group of volunteers who’ve been working since last spring to bring the garden to fruition. The group hopes to start other gardens in other locations in Northfield, in the future.

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