By Cheryl B. Wilson Friday, April 12, 2013 in the Daily Hampshire Gazette
A consortium of Amherst groups is urging 350 area residents to join in creating at least 100 new vegetable gardens this year. The idea is to establish new gardens in public and private spaces for growing healthy and affordable food.
In addition to the local residents participating in the “350 Challenge,” Stephanie Ciccarello, sustainability coordinator for the town, is working with John Gerber of the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, UMass Permaculture Group, UMass Auxiliary Enterprises, Hampshire College and Transition Amherst.
The kickoff event is a “Gardening 101” workshop on April 18, 6-9 p.m., at Amherst Town Hall. Charlotte Vesel, a trained volunteer with the Western Massachusetts Master Gardener Association, will present an hour-long overview of vegetable gardening basics. After a question and answer session, participants can visit four information stations to learn about container and trellis gardening, how to build raised beds, techniques for building a “lasagna” garden and how to get your soil tested. The event is free. However, if you bring a soil sample to be tested, there is a $1 charge for supplies.
Two other events are scheduled for April 27 at the town’s Sustainability Festival on the town common and on May 5 in a living classroom workshop on installing a permaculture garden. At the sustainability festival, Tree Warden Alan Snow will demonstrate tree pruning at 10:30 a.m. Hope Crolius and her Goat Girls will talk, at 11:30 a.m., about how goats can control invasive species. Charlotte Vesel will demonstrate lasagna gardening at 12:30 p.m. and “Dr. Worm,” David Lovler, will explain composting at 1:30 p.m. The final demonstration will be basics of permaculture by the UMass Permaculture Group at 2:30 p.m.
To sign up for the 350 Challenge and for more information, go to www.growfoodamherst.org or contact Ciccarello at 259-3149 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To help us reach 350, please sign up here. Your commitment is only to grow something to eat! You might be expanding an existing garden, starting a new one, growing strawberries in a planter on the patio, or even growing potted herb on your windowsill!