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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Where has Nicole Harter been?

Hello Everyone,
So, disregard those rumors that I threw away my healthy lifestyle and decided to live on the couch with bon bons...this will be a "what has Nicole been doing for the last 4 months", and "why she has been ignoring her blog" post.

I am so excited about this project, I cannot even tell you...but I will...are you dying in anticipation yet???

Announcing the Franklin Community Gardens--found at King Street Memorial Field in Franklin, MA. There are 46 raised beds: 4 beds will belong to the Franklin Food Pantry, 8 will be leased by community organizations, 4 are wheelchair accessible, and 30 will be leased by Franklin residents. The first ever community garden in Franklin, Massachusetts. Awesomeness.

Here is a little bit of history. Once upon a time in 2010, a bunch of community members: Jodi Koeman, Amy Cornwell from New England Chapel, Lauren Marciszyn from the Hockomock YMCA, Anne Marie from the Franklin Food Pantry, Deb Schwab from the Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School, and Franklin residents Sandy Bryant and I joined forces and started building raised beds across the community. We organized 12 beds to be built in total at the Charter school, NEC, the senior center, the food pantry, early childhood development center, and other sites. The beds were a small start with the hopes that someday there would be a larger community garden in Franklin, where people could create vegetable gardens and build a community that spanned generations and taught the community about the importance of fresh, local, organic food ! The funding for the beds came from part of a state grant called Mass in Motion, given to the Hockomock YMCA for use in creating a healthier community in Franklin.

One day that fateful spring, someone (Amy Acevedo) walked by the bed at the food pantry and inquired "what is this doing here?" and happened to be an avid gardener with experience in community gardening. Luckily that same someone was also a "doer" and joined our small team and began pulling in other garden do-gooders. The Franklin Community Gardens was born. Fast forward to October 2010 and we establish a steering committee (Amy Acevedo, Chris Clay, Lauren Marciszyn and I). From there we took it and ran, developing plans, working with the town, and establishing a town committee as well as a non-profit. And as of last weekend and we have accomplished the following:
  • Established the Franklin Community Gardens Town Committee (Amy Acevedo, Chris Clay, Deb Schwab, Teresa Triana and myself)
  • Established and incorporated the Friends of Franklin Community Gardens non-profit (Amy, Chris, Deb Schwab, Teresa Triana, Lauren Marciszyn and myself)
  • Built the first site for Franklin Community Gardens at King St Memorial Field with 46 raised beds thanks to the funding from the next installment of the Mass in Motion grant via YMCA
  • Began registration process for the distribution of the raised beds I have been a little busy helping with those things. If you are interested in learning more about Franklin Community Gardens visit The blog, which is written by Amy and sometimes Chris, is a better description of all we have been doing, all the amazing sponsors and folks that have been involved, and it is all soooo (dare I say it) WICKED EXCITING!

If you are interested in becoming a "Friend" or "Sponsor" of the Franklin Community Gardens-we will have more info coming soon.

If you are a member of the Franklin community and would like to be more involved with the Franklin Community Gardens, we meet Monday evenings at 6:30 PM at the Municipal building.

The other little things I have been doing are:
  • Chasing little Levi around because he started walking at 10.5 months! He is now 13 months old and having a blast playing and exploring!
  • Watching Samuel do his activities--swimming, basketball, baseball, and cub scouts! Helping him with his homework and getting him outside and into the garden!
  • Teaching kids cooking workshops once a month at the Franklin YMCA. They are called "Chop Chop" and we have a lot of fun cooking healthy recipes!
  • Working out at the Franklin YMCA--where I can drop Levi off at Child Watch
  • Heading to Tangerini's Spring Street farm, where my Spring CSA as started up again. Loving those fresh local greens!
  • Making friends with other moms in my town through the MOMs club. If you are a stay at home mom, you should look into a local mom's group to help find support and make friends. Really helps with the long days at home when you have other adults to talk to!
  • Reading
  • Yardwork--our grass is finally coming in!
I hope I can start blogging more often now that the garden has been physically built. Hopefully with some new recipes!

In health and seedlings!

Nicole Harter