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The Beginning:

In 2009 Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Chenango won a five-year grant for the Chenango Community Gardens Project from the Healthy Heart Program of the NYS Department of Health.  The goal is to expand the Community Garden in Norwich, and to create 5 new Community Gardens and 8-10 satellite container gardens throughout Chenango County by 2014. We are targeting the low-income population but not exclusively.  The main objective of the Healthy Heart Program is for people to eat more fruits and vegetables and be more active. Gardening meets both of these needs.

Stacie Edick was hired as the Community Gardens Coordinator in September 2009.  She will be reaching out to various communities in Chenango County to determine interest in and support for Community Gardens and Container Garden Projects.

The Goal:

The goal is to expand the existing Community Garden in Norwich and to create 5 new Community Gardens throughout the county by 2014.  We hope to start 2 new gardens in the Spring of 2010, 1 new garden in 2011 and 1 new garden in 2013.  These gardens should be spread throughout the county.  Final locations will depend on local interest and support. 

Satellite container gardens will be started where people live close together but do not have space for a garden such as apartment complexes, mobile home parks, senior housing, etc.  The goal is to start 1-2 of these each year.

What We Need from Local Communities:

We need partners in each community where we start a Community Garden.  These partners can be individuals, clubs, organizations, other non-profits, schools, churches, towns, villages etc. 

A strong option for locating a community garden is to use public land.  Land owned by the county, city, town or village which already allows access by the public is best because additional liability insurance is most likely not required.  The land could also be owned a non-profit agency or school.

This project is funded until March 2014.  After that the local community might need to take over management of the garden so it is best to have a partner club or agency identified that can continue to assign plots, communicate with garden members, work with the property owner, etc.

What We Can Provide:

The services of the Community Garden Coordinator will be provided.  This could include organizing meetings, assigning garden plots, design and layout of the gardens, teaching gardening classes, recruiting new gardeners and voluneers, writing press releases and newsletters, securing donations of manure, mulch and other gardening materials, grant writing and more.   

The project has a budget for a tool shed and some tools for each garden.  We also have a budget for containers and soil for satellite container gardens. 

Workshops:

Workshops in various topics will be scheduled.  Gardening techniques, container gardening, composting, worm composting, seed saving, weed and pest control, food preservation, and cooking from the garden are all skills that will allow gardeners to increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables and to be more active in the garden.  These workshops will be located in the towns that start new community gardens or in the housing that hosts a satellite container garden.