Vegetable gardens are “sprouting up” at River's Edge, Bachelder Apartments, Sunrise Towers and Orchard Hill residential communities in Laconia and Belmont. New raised bed gardens were created and planted with the help of residents, staff and volunteers. Residents added soil to the raised beds and planted their choice of vegetables.

Raised bed planters offer easy access for older residents and those using wheelchairs. “Everyone had a great time getting the planters ready and deciding what they wanted to grow. Giving communities access to grow their own food is important,” said Lisa Morin, program coordinator for the Belknap County Conservation District.

BCCD and the Belknap Association for Natural Resource Conservation proposed this project to the Lakes Region Community Developers and Laconia Housing who readily endorsed the idea. With the help of a $2,500 Community Grant from the Bank of New Hampshire and a matching Community Crisis Action Fund 2021 grant through the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, the Conservation District purchased 13 raised bed planters, container soil mix, and a wide variety of vegetable plants, herbs, seeds and garden supplies. Staff from the facilities helped assemble the cedar planter boxes along with residents and volunteers from BCCD and the community. Residents enjoyed digging into the soil and creating their own gardens. Several had plants and seedlings they'd started in pots they contributed.

The $5,270 Community Crisis Action Fund 2021 grant also covered the cost for rototilling and creating new garden beds at the BCCD community garden on Parade Road in Laconia. It will also fund repair of the water system for the community garden. A second Community Crisis Action Fund 2021 grant will help support the BCCD Gleaning Program which collects surplus fresh produce from farmers and home gardeners to provide to food pantries and community food programs.

For more information on obtaining a garden space at the BCCD Community Gardens or on the grant funding received, contact Lisa Morin at email: belknapconservation@gmail.com. All BCCD programs and activities are offered without discrimination.

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