Greens Farms Garden Club Grows For Good

“Garden Club” sounds so genteel. Members sit discussing flowers, creating beautiful arrangements, drinking tea and munching little sandwiches.

Dude! It’s 2021. Today’s garden club is not your great-grandmother’s.

Take the Greens Farms Garden Club. It’s been around since 1930 (read its history here). Now — 9 years before its 100th anniversary — members have taken their community service mission to a new level.

They’ve joined the fight against food insecurity.

Last February — amid the pandemic, and so much other misery — conservation chair Mary Lou McGuire had an idea. The Greens Farms Garden Club could grown and donate the bounty of their efforts to people in need.

Members quickly embraced the “Growing for Good” idea. Chairs Maybette Waldron, Gael Ficken and Jacque O’Brien worked with McGuire to develop a cost-efficient plan.

They found garden space at Wakeman Town Farm, and St. Timothy’s Church in Fairfield. Head farmers were selected. More than 20 members offered to help, all summer long.

Members researched best practices for growing vegetables organically. Schedules were formed, journals kept. It was decided to plant a small number of crops, to bring larger quantities of fresh produce to the 2 recipients selected: Mercy Learning Center and St. John’s Family Center. Both are in Bridgeport.

There were questions along the way: Why didn’t the cabbage grow successfully? Why did the cherry tomatoes turn out better than the larger ones? When to replant for a late summer/fall crop?

Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center, and Ganim’s Garden Center in Fairfield, provided help and assistance.

Greens Farms Garden Club members at work in April.

After farming all summer, the harvesters went to work. Recipients are thrilled with their gifts.

“This has been a wonderful initiative, which we’ll continue,” says O’Brien.

“There are many benefits to each member, and to the Greens Farms Garden Club. Working together created great team spirit, and a wonderful sense of accomplishment.

“Learning about growing vegetables expanded our horticultural knowledge, and provided us with greater incentive to grow vegetables at home. There is nothing like the taste of an absolutely fresh vegetable.”

Jane MacDonald and Judy Reynolds package produce in bags donated by Stop & Shop, for delivery to Mercy Learning and St. John’s Family Centers.

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