Garden of Eatin’ Continues to Grow in North Haven During COVID
The Garden of Eatin’ at Faith United Methodist Church has flourished with the assistance of a group of 1st- though 8th-grade students involved in the North Haven Junior Garden Club. (Photo courtesy of Cindy Golia )
Produce from this year’s harvest goes to those in need in the local community. (Photo courtesy of Cindy Golia )
In 2018, when North Haven Garden Club (NHGC) member Cindy Golia began discussing starting a junior garden club, she wasn’t sure what it would look like. Alan Riggs, a parishioner at Faith United Methodist Church on Clintonville Road, reached out as part of the church’s Garden of Eatin’ program, and from there, a partnership grew.
“They provided the garden for us to use, plus a room to use on rainy days or to have semi-formal instruction in,” said Golia. “Alan and friends asked if we would care for another garden with all the produce to be donated to the Loaves and Fishes program in New Haven.”
Golia agreed and the group took on two 10- by 20-foot plots in the 2019 season, donating the harvest to the Loaves and Fishes program. The Junior Garden Club met every Saturday morning from the end of May through October and not only planted and maintained the garden, but also did activities such as rock painting and taking part in the NHGC Scarecrows on the Green event.
Last year’s club had seven members ranging from 1st to 8th grade.
“The parents helped out, too, and it was a great experience for everybody,” said Golia. “We couldn’t wait to do it again this year, but with COVID, I didn’t feel comfortable bringing the kids together even though it was outside.”
Despite the fact that the Junior Garden Club couldn’t come back together, Golia wanted to continue the garden. She and two other NHGC members—Frank Muzio and Lee Ferma, along with her granddaughter, Alina—came together to prepare the two plots for the season. They planted six varieties of tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, kale, parsley, basil, and cucumbers.
“I felt that the garden should be planted no matter what and the plots are big enough that we were able to socially distance when we planted them,” said Golia. “I go during the week to weed and water and they’re just starting to bear some fruit.”
Because the demand at Loaves and Fishes has increased, Golia noted that the donation from their garden wouldn’t even be “a drop in the bucket” and she instead has focused on the local community. She leaves the harvest in the vestibule and it is then distributed to those in need.
Golia shared the church’s Garden of Eatin’ Mission Statement, which reads, “Our mission is to grow the health of our community. Our vision is to bring people together for the purpose of enhancing the physical, social, and economic good of the community.”
The Garden of Eatin’ has 12 plots available with two donated to the NHGC for its use. Five are designated for members of the church and five are designated for those from the community. The plot is $30 for the season.
“Our program worked hand-in-hand with the church’s mission statement—a match born in heaven, you can say,” said Golia. “They gave us a room to use and helped us to get us into the community. We are also in the process of planning a memorial garden on the property, which will take about a year to complete.”
Golia has enjoyed the partnership with the church and she looks forward to the return of the Junior Garden Club, noting that she is already receiving inquiries from those interested in participating next year.
The NHGC has met virtually throughout the COVID pandemic and while educational speakers have temporarily been put on hold, the NHGC is starting to come together again.
“We were able to have a socially distanced outdoor meeting last week with 20 members, to discuss plans,” said Golia. “We are still carrying on with what we do around town except for meeting in person at the church. We missed our annual May Market fundraiser so we are hoping to hold a Fall Festival, but we will have to see how it goes and we are taking things one step at time.”
For information or updates, follow North Haven Garden Club on Facebook. For information about joining next year’s Junior Garden Club or becoming a member of the North Haven Garden Club, email email@example.com.
Jenn McCulloch is the Correspondent for Zip06. Email Jenn at .