At the end of each session of the Urban Farming Internship, we take a field trip to visit a farm or urban garden. This year, we participated in a work day with Gardening the Community in Springfield, MA.
Gardening the Community is a food justice organization engaged in youth development, urban agriculture and sustainable living to build healthy and equitable communities.
Much like Summer of Solutions, Gardening the Community coordinates a youth program in their gardens. We worked with members of their youth program, some of whom had been working there for four years, while some had started just a few weeks before! Along with, volunteers from a local church, a local chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice, and a bike-fixing startup, we worked at two different lots.
Gardening the Community works on a combination of city land and their own land. Some of their sites are focused on production for their farm stand and CSA, while others are dedicated to community growing space. We focused on two of their production sites for the day, and walked a few blocks over to check out their new greenhouse. Our group worked on clearing some overgrowth to make room for a new bed, planting tomatoes, and watering. It was wonderful to learn from another urban farming program, with their own successes and challenges. Gardening the Community is planning a visit down to Hartford soon to work with us on the Zion Street Community Garden!