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Three New Sites Chosen for AUNE’s Keene Community Garden Connections

Submitted by Champion, Libby McCann     Community Gardens

Three more community gardens will grow in Keene over the next six months, as Antioch University New England (AUNE) and the community partner as Keene Community Gardens Connections (CGC) strengthens food security in the region.

The three new sites will be ACCESS Inc., Monadnock Area Peer Support Agency, and Prospect Place, with each site expected to build and plant six 40-square-foot gardens. These are in addition to the 6 existing sites.

CGC, comprising AUNE Environmental Studies faculty and students, and community organizations and members, is organizing the initiative. The project will take the model of AUNE’s campus garden, started in 2009, into the larger community. One of its main goals is to help local residents grow healthy and affordable food and provide education on such topics as composting, and cooking and preserving fresh food. Eventually there may be a research and education center for AUNE faculty and students to work in the areas of agriculture, restoration, and sustainability.

Four students in AUNE’s Department of Environmental Studies will serve as coordinators for the new sites to help get the gardens underway. In addition, CGC workshops are planned for March 19 and in April to teach participants about garden planning, planting and tending. A community-wide Harvest Fest and Community Sharing will wind up this year’s project in the fall. Find out more and see a great video on CGC here.

“We’re working within the community to help build food security,” said Libby McCann, AUNE’s environmental education director and an advisor to CGC.  “Being able to grow your own food is an empowering experience for learners of all ages. We are committed to enhancing our community’s food security, especially for those who have the least access to healthy food and a healthy environment. It’s so exciting to see how far we have come already.”

More community gardens are on the way. Social-service organizations may host garden sites and incorporate the gardens into their programming, or citizen groups may apply to start gardens in a vacant lot or on a piece of public land. Each collaborating agency will receive more than $2,000 in gardening supplies and educational support throughout the grant cycle. The deadline to apply to be a host agency for next year is February 11, 2014.

For more information, contact Andrew Herrick or (802) 999-0634.