Ceremony to Kickoff Earth Day Celebration

11884952_465122370314642_1826571326288146815_oCollaboration Helps to Build Healthy Neighborhood 

NeighborWorks® Rochester is pleased to announce that, along with St. Mark’s and St. John’s Episcopal Church and Broccolo Tree and Lawn Care, a ribbon cutting ceremony to kick off Earth Day will be held at the Merchants Road Community Garden. The event will be held on Friday, April 22nd at 10:00AM at the Garden, also known as the Garden of E.D.E.N. II, 622 Merchants Road, Rochester, NY.

The garden is a project initiated and maintained by the St. Mark’s and St. John’s Episcopal Church community with support from FoodLink. Recently, NeighborWorks® Rochester secured a grant from the Rochester Area Community Foundation for the Merchants Road Community Garden for enhancements, including a shed and garden tools as part of their Healthy Blocks Neighborhood Initiative.

The garden is located within Rochester’s Triangle Neighborhood of North Winton Village. This community is the focus of the Healthy Blocks program, which seeks to stimulate changes that restore and sustain neighborhood pride and confidence by working together with residents, businesses, and landlords.

In addition, NeighborWorks® Rochester coordinated with the City of Rochester to remove and replace existing features like the entryway pillars, signs, and fencing. Broccolo Tree & Lawn Care has provided technical assistance and additional resources to create landscaping at the garden that promotes the plant and animal life while making the space more inviting.

Maureen Murphy, Executive Director of NeighborWorks® Rochester stated, “This garden is a perfect example of a cooperative effort of residents, merchants, businesses and the city to enhance a neighborhood that is in transition. The collaboration of all the parts will work to strengthen civic involvement, pride in the community and encourage reinvestment. We were especially thankful to St. Mark’s and St. John’s and Broccolo for partnering with us to make this garden a successful neighborhood project, which provides benefits beyond the growing season.“

“It was our pleasure to be involved with the Garden of E.D.E.N,” said Laurie Broccolo, President of Broccolo Tree and Lawn Care. “We want to help educate the community about growing food, including the plants that attract pollinators, which are necessary for success. Connecting people to nature is a personal passion and goal for me. Helping our community to enjoy the benefits of gardening and growing plants is near and dear to my heart.”

Last year, close to 850 pounds of produce was harvested from The Merchants Road Community Garden, with a portion of the harvest going to a local food bank. Local residents who volunteered received a $5 voucher each time they volunteered at the garden, to be used at any local farmer’s market.

 

Spring Revival- New Community Garden & Community Kick-off Event

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After a long vacancy, the empty lot at 622 Merchants Road recently became a community garden once again. The garden is a result of a partnership between St. Mark’s & St. John’s Episcopal Church, Foodlink, Covenant United Methodist Church, the City of Rcohester and Healthy Blocks. The garden contains 16 raised beds, flower garden, a picnic table and a tool shed in the near future. Our United Way Day of Caring volunteers from Paychex and New Directions helped clear the lot and build the raised beds all in a day!

This garden is the church’s second growing site after a very successful initial effort on church property. With the generous donation of materials by Foodlink, a portion of the food produced goes to those in need. Food is distributed locally through various food pantries, including the one found at St. Mark’s & St. John’s.

Neighbors are encouraged to participate in the community garden throughout the growing season. Volunteers may join Mike Finn, lead garden coordinator, this Friday at 10am to plant seeds in the raised beds. The garden will have scheduled harvest days where the food is weighed before being distributed. Gardeners also reap some rewards for their efforts by taking fresh produce home with them!

Gardening plus several other eco related topics will be featured at “Taste of the Triangle” on May 31st, from 11am-3pm. This event will feature free food tastings from local restaurants, live music, as well as community and “green” resources. The Merchants Road garden coordinators will be at the event ready to chat about the project.

For more information about the garden or “Taste of the Triangle,” please send me an e-mail or give me a call: mkraines@nwrochester.org 325-4170 ext. 317.

Happy Gardening!

Michelle Kraines