Written by Betsy Abraham, firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday, 27 March 2014 00:00
It seemed like it would never come, but spring is finally here. The sun’s out a little longer, the days are getting warmer and the showers promise blooming flowers in weeks ahead.
Another telltale sign that spring has finally sprung in Hicksville is the opening of the community garden. An outreach of Trinity Lutheran Church, this garden has been both maintained by, and served, the local community since 2011.
“We might be from one church and school, but we’re looking to get the whole community involved,” said coordinator Melissa Valencia. “We want the whole community to come work here with us.”
The community garden is aptly named. It’s maintained by community members, and the fruits (or vegetables) of their labor go towards helping other community members in need. Anyone is welcome to volunteer at the property, regardless of religious affiliation, age, gardening experience, or any other factor. All the produce that is grown is donated right back to the community through various food pantries.
“We’re trying to help people who need help in the most basic way,” Valencia said. “Come here one day and harvest food that’s going to feed someone that very day. You’re directly impacting someone’s life.”
“You have to start small and help the people you live with,” she continued. “Once you take care of those people you can reach out even further.”
The garden, which is located at 46 W. Cherry St., has 33 raised beds and is hoping to expand in the next couple of years. This past Saturday, volunteers of all ages from Westbury, Massapequa and Hicksville got the garden ready for the new season and planted cabbage, lettuce, pea, beet and radish seeds for the first harvest. Come late April, they will start planting seeds for warm weather plants such as tomatoes and peppers. Volunteers are continually harvesting and planting new seeds throughout the whole season.
Valencia says there are several of ways people can get involved with the garden and that no experience is necessary, it’s just basic gardening.
“Once you get those seeds in the ground, it’s just keeping it weeded and watered and keeping an eye out for any problems,” she said.
Problems, which for many gardeners can mean critters like raccoons, squirrels and rabbits. But Valencia says they haven’t had any issues with animals or insects, which has also allowed the garden to avoid using any pesticides.
Meredith Canavor from Hicksville has been helping at the garden since its inception and was at the workday on Saturday with her son. She says she enjoys being able to work alongside her community members while doing something she loves so much.
“I love it because we get to partner with the town and other churches and the community,” Canavor said. “It’s such a great experience because you’re doing something positive. Especially after a cold winter, there’s nothing better than putting your hands in the soil, it makes you feel so well connected.”