Now in our eighth year, CGC is fortunate to have established gardens and partnerships with 13 social service organizations at 12 different locations around Keene. The latest collaborations were in 2015 and included Monadnock Developmental Services and Fuller Elementary School/Project KEEP. Thanks to all of the organizations and community members interested in and developing delicious gardens throughout Keene!
The following is a brief description of each project site and the partner’s involved. Please contact us if you have questions about how to get involved.
Harper Acres, a Keene Housing Authority apartment complex, has a lovely natural location along the Ashuelot River and next to the bike path in Ashuelot River Park. The residents and staff were delighted to be selected by Antioch University New England (AUNE) for the first round of their community garden project. Although there had once been a garden at Harper Acres, there hasn’t been one in recent years. In 2011, CGC worked with residents of Harper Acres to build 7 raised bed gardens. Last year, the gardeners were able to expand to a total of 10 raised beds which are used in a variety of ways. Some are for individuals to care for and use and some are community beds for residents to share. The participation at the Harper Acres gardens has really increased as more and more residents become a part of the project. There are flowers and some beautiful landscape projects underway in addition to the bountiful vegetable gardens!
Keene Recreation Center in partnership with Early Sprouts
The Keene Recreation Center is a community facility in the North Central neighborhood of Keene. The gardens will be used as an integral component of the Keene Recreation Center’s two after-school programs. The Center’s programs currently serve approximately 120 elementary age children. The Keene Parks and Recreation Center also serves as a training center for other after-school programs in New Hampshire making it an ideal location to serve as a prototype for garden-based initiatives at other area after-school programs. In 2011, 6 raised bed gardens were built, 4 of which are planted, cared for, and harvested largely by the kids in the after-school program. The vegetables of the Early Sprouts curriculum are cooked by the students for snacks as part of the after school programming at the Rec. Center.
Monadnock Area Peer Support Agency
In 2012 the CGC started a partnership with Monadnock Area Peer Support Agency. MPS has six beds at their facility and an active group of avid gardeners. They meet every week during gardening season to make collective decisions and are always learning a new skill to apply. The produce is shared between the gardeners and some is used in weekly community meals at the MPS office!
Keene Family YMCA and Monadnock Family Services Kids In-Shape Program
Another garden site established in 2012 is at the Keene Family YMCA. CGC helped to build 6 garden beds for Monadnock Family Services, the YMCA child care center, and the YMCA membership and young adult programs to share. The YMCA Child Care center has partnered with Early Sprouts to receive training on how to incorporate the gardens into their after school programs. MFS is also using the gardens as part of their programming and several members have already helped with the project to date. The produce will be shared between gardeners and the gardens are providing an opportunity for members of the Kids In-Shape and Adult In-Shape programs to get outside and to eat some healthy produce from the gardens. Finally, the YMCA membership and young adult programs are using two of the garden beds here. Through the collaboration of these different groups there are a lot of kids who will have their hands in the soil at the YMCA in the coming years!
Keene Housing Authority Building Bridges Clubhouse Program
The Building Bridges program was an after-school program for residents of the Keene Housing Authority neighborhood on Harmony Lane in Keene. At the beginning of their partnership with CGC, the program director and kids came up with the idea of creating a pizza garden that would provide snacks for everyone! Children of the aftercare Clubhouse helped plan the garden, plant seedlings, fill the beds with soil, weed, harvest, and cook! In 2016, the garden beds at this site were incorporated into Keene Housing’s Community Gardens Program which has grown rapidly in the past year and working tirelessly to improve the lives of Keene Housing Resident’s through community gardening. CGC is delighted to continue work at the Clubhouse in partnership with Keene Housing Community Gardens Leadership.
Keene Senior Center
The Keene Senior Center on Court Street in Keene has had gardens in place for years, but with CGC’s help, the Senior Center now boasts raised terrace gardens that provide easier access for seniors to garden. There is some excellent garden knowledge at the Senior Center which will undoubtedly help in the successful implementation of the garden produce. Some of the food grown will be used directly at the Senior Center and some will be donated to The Community Kitchen. The Senior Center is also working to establish partnerships with area schools to foster intergenerational collaborations!
RISE: For Baby and Family
Rise joined the CGC family in 2013. This early childhood care center uses its garden beds to engage the youngest of minds in the Monadnock Region. Children are involved with all aspects of the gardening process from planting the seeds to munching on the delicious veggies they grow. Through interactive pre-school programming, Rise prepares children for a healthy and active life.
The John H. Fuller Elementary School and Project KEEP
John H. Fuller Elementary School and Project KEEP joined the CGC roster in the 2015 season. Fuller Elementary and Project KEEP believe education should develop the whole child, fostering growth of young minds and strength of young bodies through diverse opportunities. Project KEEP utilizes project-based learning in it’s curriculum that serves 20-25 students after school daily during the school year. Six beds built at the school are maintained collaboratively by participants and staff of Project KEEP and teachers and students from Fuller School.
Monadnock Developmental Services
Monadnock Developmental Services (MDS) joined CGC in the 2015 season. MDS is committed to supporting individuals with developmental and related disabilities to living as independently as possible in their communities. CGC and MDS staff and volunteers gathered in the Spring of 2016 to rebuild the five, wheel chair accessible, MDS garden beds. They are now flourishing within cucumbers, tomatoes, kale, and more.
The Community Kitchen
In 2015, CGC partnered with The Community Kitchen which now maintains a bed at the Keene Recreation Center for families wanting to get involved in growing fresh produce. Additionally, The Westmoreland Garden Project, run through CGC, donates the produce grown on its 1-acre plot to The Community Kitchen. In 2015 alone, The Westmoreland Garden Project donated 4,327 pounds of fresh produce!
Community Prospect-Woodward Home
In 2016, two garden site partners, Prospect Place and The Woodward Home merged into The Woodward Home location. The 6 garden beds at The Woodward Home were built in 2012 while Prospect Place joined CGC in 2013. The garden is located in a courtyard behind the building, which not only provides fresh produce and herbs for the chef to use in meals, but also serves as a community gathering place. The location provides convenient access for residents to enjoy the outdoors, the peace of the garden, the company of friends, and the full sensory experience of participating in gardening. Stop by the Prospect-Woodward Home to join in the fun!
Former Garden Sites:
ACCESS (Associates in Career, Community and Educational Support Services) The Benjamin Franklin School