Community Gardens Win National Award

While controversy grows in Westport over the future of the Community Gardens, dozens of gardeners are crowing.

They’ve just won a national award.

The American Community Gardening Association — a nonprofit with 252 members including parks, school gardens and urban farms — has named Westport the “Sustainability” winner. The honor “recognizes a community garden group leading environmental stewardship efforts in the care of their garden and the environment.”

The Westport Community Gardens won, director Lou Weinberg says, because “we are an organic garden, we compost all our waste, we have wildflower beds and milkweed beds, we are a monarch butterfly waystation, we are part of the Pollinator Pathway and Green Corridor, we donate fresh food, we support our local garden club, we support Eagle Scout projects, we build community, and we have created an ecologically rich habitat in a preserve surrounding the garden that is home to wildlife including resident and migratory birds and thousands of pollinators.”

Weinberg gave credit to “the town of Westport, Parks & Recreation Department, Public Works Department, dozens of local, state and national organizations, and hundreds of town residents who have spent over 100,000 volunteer hours building the Westport Community Gardens and the Long Lots Preserve.”

The award will be presented tomorrow, in Houston.

A few dozen of the Westport Community Gardens. There are 120 plots on the site.

29 responses to “Community Gardens Win National Award

  1. What a wonderful tribute to the garden and its gardeners!

  2. Congratulations to our amazing and beloved Community Gardens! Please help us save this essential treasure in our town

  3. Congratulations to Lou who goes above and beyond to steward this incredible piece of land, and to all the gardeners who tend to their gardens with such great care. I find this award ironic as the Westport Community Garden faces the looming Town of Westport wrecking ball.

  4. SO Exciting!

  5. Karen La Costa Mather

    So many towns in North America are striving to create a Community Garden/Preserve like Westport now has, thanks to twenty years of sweat equity! It truly is special and priceless and definitely worth saving! Lou – thank you for your leadership. You are an amazing steward of our Earth!

  6. How many of our baseball diamonds won National awards

    • John I don’t know you and I am just starting to read these comments but I take my hat off to you…you are clearly someone who understands the value of a good punchline! You have a future in standup!

      Made me laugh out loud!

  7. This is a well-deserved honor for the Westport Community Gardens! I hope that Town bodies are made aware and consider the treasure that would be lost if this site is bulldozed 🙁

  8. Oh wow. Not surprised.
    This town treasure should stand for everything . And what perfect timing to be recognized. This is amazing.
    20 YEARS of work, and effort.
    A stunning example to young and old of what all of our gardens should look like in the future, if we care about the future.
    Congratulations to Lou and all of the gardeners involved, in caring for and making this space so magical.

  9. Not sure what else it will take to remove the destruction of this garden out of the equation completely. Congrats to all of the gardeners for this awesome award and the validation of your years of hard work!

  10. This is great news. It is also proof, yet again, that my G-d has a wicked sense of humor. Are you listening Long Lots Building Committee, 1st Selectwoman Tooker, BOE and the PRC? Leave our Town’s National Award winning Community Gardens alone!! G-d and the American Community Gardening Association have spoken.

    John F. Suggs

  11. We are honored to be recognized by the ACGA for creating an ecological oasis in the heart of Westport. The Long Lots Nature Preserve has transformed neglected, garbage strewn town land into an incredible “pocket forest” of native trees and shrubs. Westport’s Community Garden is home to thousands and thousands of native bees, birds and newly hatched butterflies. The Preserve and Garden are teeming with life. Surely they are worth celebrating, protecting and preserving. We can absolutely relocate a ball-field without destroying our one and only (and now award-winning and nationally recognized) town Garden.

  12. very fruitful and quite a down to earth group.

  13. So very well deserved congratulations to all concerned

  14. Congratulations and fantastic timing!!

  15. Congrat’s Lou and fellow gardeners for receiving this recognition at a national level! It speaks volumes to the 20 years of careful nurturing and honoring Mother Earth in all her glory.

    Let’s hope this slice of heaven is considered sustainable by our local administration and doesn’t become a memory to the Westport Community Gardens Memorial Ball Field.

  16. Kristin Schneeman

    Wonderful news, so well deserved by this town treasure and its stewards!

  17. Congratulations to the gardeners who have worked so hard for the past 20 years to create this ecological treasure. The Westport Community Gardens and Long Lots Preserve is an excellent model for other communities to learn from, and Westport should be so proud to be home to a nationally recognized community garden and preserve.

    We need MORE spaces like these, gardens and nature preserves that promote sustainability, support their neighbors with flood mitigation, provide a green space and clean air in a rapidly urbanizing area, partner with schools and children for hands on educational opportunities and scout projects, gives back to the community with food donations, feeds the bees, and serves as a national example of what a community garden should be.

  18. Martha Elizabeth Deegan

    Dear Dan,
    It’s a shame the Board of Education doesn’t recognize the value of this FREE garden which could be incorporated into the curriculum at no cost. Students could learn about botany, chemistry, insects, birds, pollinators, weather, etc. from this garden. Kids could come out into the garden to observe, to draw, to sing, to write poetry, and to dance among the garden beds. Instead, they want to plow it under and use it for a sports field. Nothing wrong with sports, mind you, but it takes time to develop good soil in a garden, years, even. The Board of Education ought to place the ball field some other place, and start using the garden to the betterment of students who have a love for nature.
    Martha Deegan

  19. Wonderful news, a wonderful award.

  20. Maybe we should invite the members of the American Gardens Association, our First Selectwoman, members of the LLSBC and all other members of the Westport public to the funeral when the bulldozers go in…

  21. It will take nerves of steel to bulldoze the garden now!

  22. Please make sure to attend the workshop, ‘How to effectively and safely relocate your community garden’ at this week’s conference


  23. OK — maybe I have no business butting in. I no longer live in Westport, and my kids didn’t attend school there.

    But something seems so obvious to me and I don’t think I’ve noticed anyone else mentioning it.

    There is a 22 acre piece of land between Compo and Imperial Avenues, that is mostly vacant, except for a crumbling mansion and the Senior Center. I understand it’s been under consideration for Affordable Housing. Why not build athletic fields there as well? Maybe more than one.

    Then the beloved Community Gardens could remain where they are; the athletic fields could be built; and “Baron’s South” could be cleaned up and made into a park.

  24. As a 30 year resident of this town, I am somewhat stunned and embarrassed that we are even having this discussion to replace the gardens with a baseball field. I have always been proud to be a resident of a town that was one of the first to eliminate plastic bags and encouraged recycling and sustainability.
    To replace a garden that has just been recognized nationally as the premier example of sustainability is a damn shame. The Long Lots Building Committee should be ashamed of themselves if they decide to recommend this and the First Selectwomen should be embarrassed if they approve it!

  25. India van Voorhees

    Congratulations to all our creative, caring and capable gardeners at Westport Community Gardens.
    This honor couldn’t have come at a better time.
    I can’t stop grinning.

  26. The Community Gardens is a special accomplishment and exemplar of unique gem. We knew that, and now it is recognized as such across community gardens through our entire country. WOW!

  27. The building committee reports it will cost a few million dollars to keep the gardens where they are. I presume they are costing in the price of developing a baseball field elsewhere. However, it does not give a price for developing a new garden elsewhere (if such was possible). They are gaslighting taxpayers by their failure to tell the whole story. It is highly unlikely State reimbursement will fund any part of a new ball field that is not used by Long Lots students. Saying it is part of the “campus” does not make it part of the new school.

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