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Come Grow with Us - 'Green' Works To Launch Community Garden

Those little pink orbs for sale in supermarkets are no match for homegrown heirloom brandywine tomatoes. And the sound of one spade digging is not nearly as melodious as a symphony of six, according to organizers of a new community garden.

Greg Horner and Chris LaPointe of Hamilton have a shared vision.

It’s a vision of soil, sweat, shared effort and a slew of sweet homegrown harvests. In short, they envision a community garden for Hamilton and Wenham.

Slowed by failed location leads, the garden has been some time coming, but through maintained effort and cooperation from Matt Ulrich of UBLA Site Planners, Horner and LaPointe are close to achieving success. With a site secured at , all that is needed now is 10 or so committed gardeners.

Just as seed packets stamped 2012 are appearing on shelves in hardware stores and garden centers, Horner and LaPointe have the project ready to launch.

A week ago they introduced the proposed garden on Hamilton-Wenham Green’s website. Above an aerial shot of the garden site marked to show a proposed plot layout, Hamilton-Wenham Green invites all would-be participants to complete an ‘I’m interested’ survey.

Understanding that early community input is essential to the project’s success, Hamilton-Wenham Green seeks to guage the size and shape of the interest of potential participants. All are welcome from mothers with young children in tow to the elderly or handicapped.

The site is optimally located to make it easily accessible.

“It’s by Pingree Park, the , a playground, senior housing, the council on aging and . It’s highly walkable,” says Horner. The property is owned by the Hamilton-Wenham Open Land Trust and is currently leased by Hugh Collins for use as a tree and shrub nursery. The sizeable tree farm will remain but will give up a diamond shaped section allotted to the community garden.

Describing 2012 as the test year for this pilot project, LaPointe, who serves on the board of directors of the Open Land Trust and works full time as a senior project manager for The Trust for Public Land, is optimistic about the project. Like Horner, he is part of the nationwide local food movement that is currently afoot.

“Greg and I have a few layers of overlap,” said Lapointe of his fellow organizer.    “We met a few years ago while riding the train (to Boston).”

By day Horner is a project officer for environmental concerns with the Cedar Tree Foundation, a non-profit philanthropic organization. Shoptalk between the two while commuting likely included thoughts on sustainability, land use and urban agriculture.

Clearly Horner and LaPointe are committed to working to make the world a better place. And both are willing to take risks to do so. They have built a community garden but wonder; will anyone come?

“It’s a chicken and egg story,” says LaPointe.

“We’re looking to see who we can pull together, to see if it has some legs.”

Natasha Molnar February 04, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Hi, how can I get involved? Tasha Molnar
Helen Weatherall February 04, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Hi Tasha, the quickest way to get started is to visit hwgreen.org and fill out the survey. Someone from H-W Green will get in touch with you. ~~Helen
Jennifer Flynn February 04, 2012 at 09:19 PM
this is so fabulous!!!!! We have a great community. HW green is great
Chris LaPointe February 06, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Thanks for the great story. Just to clarify, the proposed site is on the Dodge Farm parcel owned by the Hamilton Wenham Open Land Trust, which is adjacent to Pingree Park. We are not proposing gardens on the Pingree parcel. Let HW Green know if you are interested.
Helen Weatherall February 06, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Ah- sorry to get that wrong. Thank you for the correction Chris. My editor is acting on it right now. ~~Helen
Michael D February 10, 2012 at 04:00 AM
This sounds like an excellent idea -- and the location seems ideal. Looking forward to seeing this project come to fruition!

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