Ashland Community Gardens in Year 10: A Thriving Community Space

Cynthia Whitty
Ashland Community Gardens accommodates nearly 100 organic vegetable growers, individuals and families, in 56 garden beds. (Photos/Cynthia Whitty)
Issue Date: 
February, 2018
Article Body: 

Founded in 2009 by volunteers who were either interested in gardening or who wanted Ashland to have a community garden, Ashland Community Gardens (ACG) at Stone Park, built on an old tennis court, is a thriving community space that accommodate 56 organic gardeners in 4X10-ft raised and in-ground beds. One bed is dedicated to growing food for the Ashland Food Pantry. There are common areas for all gardeners to share herbs and other crops. Gardeners regularly hold potluck meals where they share their harvest.
Several years ago, Wellesley College Botanical Gardens’ faculty and Wellesley College students worked with ACG gardeners to design a permaculture garden around a new Asian pear tree situated on the north end of the gardens. The companion plants, also known as a guild, support the tree’s growth.
In past years, ACG held yoga in the garden and talks on gardening and ergonomics, bees and bee keeping, and ways to preserve vegetables. Gardeners and community members painted a colorful mural on the garden shed and created a certified “waystation” garden to attract butterflies and other beneficial insects. The garden is sometimes opened to artists who work on projects inspired by the beautiful surroundings.
Interested town residents are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information, email [email protected]. A meeting for new and returning members is scheduled for Saturday, March 31, 10 am to 12 pm, at the Ashland Library, Community Room.