Curbing hunger with community gardens in Nashua

By KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent
May 31. 2018 9:37PM
Jack and Sean Foley join their mother, Karleny Foley, to plant garden beds Thursday at the new Spring Street Community Gardens in Nashua. (Kimberly Houghton/Union Leader Correspondent)

Justin Monroe, founder of Grow Nashua, joins volunteers on Thursday to kick off the new Spring Street Community Gardens project in Nashua. (Kimberly Houghton/Union Leader Correspondent)

NASHUA — In an effort to curb hunger and provide a helping hand to Nashua’s less fortunate families, a new community garden has been constructed in the heart of downtown.

About a dozen volunteers gathered on Thursday to construct several garden beds for the new Spring Street Community Gardens.

“We don’t just grow people and businesses, we also grow food here in Nashua,” said Michael Reinke, executive director of the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter.

The land being used for the community garden, which was donated for $1 by Citizens Bank, is located directly behind the bank’s downtown branch and across from the post office.

“This is an awesome project,” said Reinke, adding it will provide many hungry people in the Gate City will access to healthy, fresh food.

While the soup kitchen will be utilizing some of the fruits and vegetables in the gardens, many of the beds and their produce will be reserved for needy families.

“This site has been here for decades,” said Mayor Jim Donchess, thanking Citizens Bank for working with various organizations to make the new community garden a reality.

According to Joe Carelli, president of Citizens Bank for New Hampshire and Vermont, many people are struggling with food insecurity, explaining hunger prevents adults from succeeding at their jobs and also hinders a child’s ability in school.

“We really need to invest in this problem,” he said.

Southern New Hampshire Medical Center, the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce, the Church of the Good Shepherd and Grow Nashua are also helping with the new community garden initiative.

“This place is shaping up to be something incredible,” said Justin Monroe, CEO of Grow Nashua.

Different plants such as tomatoes, peppers, sugar snap peas, squash and more will be planted, depending on requests from families. Ten garden beds have already been constructed, and another 12 are being planned.

Additional sponsors are still being sought to help with financing the project.

“It is great to be a part of this from the ground level,” said Dr. Robert Dorf, chief medical officer with SNHMC.

He said the hospital is thrilled to be a part of the endeavor, stressing the importance of health and wellness for every resident in Nashua.

Having healthy options for lower income residents offers them choices that might not otherwise be available to them, said Dorf, thanking the many partners working to make the Spring Street Community Gardens flourish.

NashuaNews@unionleader.com


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