February 26, 2014

Community Gardens Planned For Flanders

If you plant them, they will grow.

Southampton Councilwoman Christine Scalera and Cornell Cooperative Extension are organizing a community meeting to discuss a garden project in Flanders on Monday.

"Community gardens are a perfect opportunity for physical activity and an excellent source of nutrition and enjoyment of a wide assortment of garden fresh produce," said Susan Wilk, Project Coordinator at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, in a press release from the town.

Last year Scalera met with CCE, discussing ways to get said project up and running, ultimately recruiting them to assist with the Flanders area. Funding for the project is from the New York State Department of Health to implement "creating healthy places in Suffolk County."

"We are very excited to be working with Councilwoman Scalera and the Flanders, Riverside, Northampton communities on this project. Programs like ours across the state are working in collaboration with local governments and community members to create healthy plans in communities and implement projects that will make it easier for community members to be physically active and eat healthy foods," said Wilk.

According to Scalera one of her goals with the project is to integrate the community gardens into the town's parks, youth, and senior services programs, "with an eye toward promoting intergenerational interaction, with the garden as a focal point."

Scalera has also reached out to local citizen advisory committees, civic organizations as well as the Flanders Fire Department, with the hope they will be interested in maintaining a garden bed at the David Crohan Community Center.

"These groups are already so involved with the Flanders, Riverside, Northampton communities and it would be a wonderful addition to have them participate in the project," the councilwoman said.

Monday night's event start at 6 PM at the David Crohan Center and will include presentations from CCE with Laurie Nigro and Amy Davidson, of the River and Roots Community Garden in Riverhead, discussing what it takes to have a successful community garden. Back in 2011, the River and Roots Community Garden beautified a long abandoned town property in Riverhead and recorded nearly 600 pounds of fresh, local produce. They also installed dozens of garden beds, herb beds, and a vertical garden.

All members of the community are welcome to Monday night's discussion to hear plans for the initiative as well as share ideas and concerns. Those interested in participating in the project are encouraged to sign up at the meeting as well.

For more information contact Scalera at 631-287-5745.

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