Ashland launches new organic community garden on April 19

ASHLAND — Ashland HEAL will launch a new community garden during a public ribbon cutting ceremony at the Ashland Elementary School on Saturday, April 19, 2014 at 1:30 p.m.

Ashland HEAL and many community volunteers have worked for over a year on plans for the Ashland Community Garden. After receiving a grant from HEAL NH, Ashland HEAL solicited feedback during several community-wide forums to hear what types of healthy eating and physical activity opportunities residents would like to have in the town. A community garden space was at the top of the list and a committee was formed.

The project gained momentum with businesses and volunteers donating time and materials to help plan and construct the garden. For example, the raised garden beds are being constructed by students at Ashland Elementary School from cedar provided by Sharps Lumber; Ashland Lumber is providing the fencing; and the site work is being done by M. E. Latulippe Construction and Tree Solutions. Earlier this year, Meredith Village Savings Bank supported the project with a $3,500 grant.

"Our goal is to increase the availability of healthy foods and provide opportunities for physical exercise, particularly for first time gardeners and those that have limited access to fresh vegetables," said Dave Toth of the Ashland HEAL Community Garden Committee. "We want to make it easy for people to participate in the garden, so we are providing free plants, garden plans, and advice from Master Gardeners and experienced Organic Growers during the growing season."

The event opens with a reception at 1 p.m. followed by the 1:30 p.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony. At 2 p.m. there will be a  "Starting a Garden," presentation by Master Gardener Melanie Kerr.

The garden will offer 20 4' x 8' plots on a first come, first served basis.
People attending the event can participate in a seed swap, talk with a Master Gardener, get information about Plymouth Local Foods, and volunteer for garden projects.
Healthy snacks provided by The Common Man and Dot's Bread & Butter Bistro.

Several organizations will be recognized for their contributions to the project at the ribbon cutting ceremony, including Ashland Elementary School, Ashland Lumber, The Common Man, Dot's Bread & Butter Bistro, M.E. Latulippe Construction, Meredith Village Savings Bank, New Hampshire Seedling Co., Randall Surveying, Samyn & D'Elia Architects, Sharps Lumber, Town of Ashland, and Tree Solutions.