June 17, 2021

Lyme-Old Lyme’s Food Share Garden Reaches Fundraising Goal, Further Donations Will Support Additional Needs

Lyme-Old Lyme Community Share Garden Board Members gather for a photo. From left to right are Jack Larocca, Jim Ward, Peter Hunt, Amy Mastrangelo, and Sheila McTigue-Ward.

Editor’s Note: Several hours after we published this article, we heard the wonderful news from Jim Ward that the fundraising goal of $7,500 had been reached. He greatly appreciates this, “tremendous support to the start of the garden.” He notes however, that, “While this gives us the ability to install a fence and purchase tools and equipment we have other important projects in the pipeline such as an irrigation system, electrical hook up, and a shed. Any further donations will assist us towards the completion of these projects.”

OLD LYME —The Lyme-Old Lyme Food Share Garden (LOLFSG) set itself quite a challenge back at the end of March.  The group launched a crowdfunding campaign with a target to raise $7,500.

If that amount is successfully raised by May 26, then the project will receive a matching grant of $7500 from Sustainable CT’s Community Match Fund — an initiative of Eastern Connecticut State University’s Institute for Sustainable Energy that inspires, supports, and recognizes sustainability action by towns and cities statewide.

The Community Match Fund — supported by the Smart Seed Fund, Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation and the Connecticut Green Bank —provides a dollar-for-dollar match to donations raised from the community, doubling local investment in projects. 

As at today’s date, the campaign stands at a remarkable $7,145.00!

Old Lyme resident Jim Ward is the inspiration behind the Lyme-Old Lyme Community Share Garden.

Asked what he felt about the community’s response to the campaign, the originator of the project Jim ward said, “We are extremely pleased and excited about the community’s support. Not only are we about to reach our goal, but we also have added several new volunteers. The generosity of the residents of Lyme/Old Lyme demonstrates the commitment they have towards helping those in need.”

He added, “I would also like to thank SustainableCT for making this possible.”

The LOLFSG celebrated a significant accomplishment on May 1 when members of the Board of Directors and Garden Design Committee staked out the perimeter of the future food share garden at Town Woods Park in Old Lyme.

All produce from the garden will be donated to area food pantries and food banks. 

Ward, a resident of Old Lyme since 2006, was the inspiration behind the project. While working towards his UCONN Master Gardening Certificate in 2020, he volunteered with the Food for All garden in Clinton, CT.

As a volunteer, he was impressed by the organization of the garden, humbled by the increasing demands on community food banks and food pantries, and energized by the sense of community that the garden embodied. He noted similar trends while visiting similar gardens in Old Saybrook, Pomfret and Killingworth and sought to develop a garden in the Lyme-Old Lyme area.

In the ensuing months, Ward worked with multiple town agencies to procure a site at the Town Woods Park, a recreational park overseen by the town Parks & Recreation Commission.

Ward describes the site as “ideal” in that the sports fields are organically maintained and the parcel of land, in addition to the fields, contains a playground and the Lymes’ Senior Center, thus making the garden accessible to multi-generational families in the towns.

Furthermore, he notes, through generous cooperation with the Parks and Recreation Commision, the garden has access to water, electricity and parking. 

The LOLFSG plans to have a fully functional garden by the spring of 2022. To make this vision become a reality, the organization is actively involved in grant writing and fundraising.

Notably, the Lyme-Old Lyme Food Share Garden is raising money through a crowd-sourcing effort supported by Sustainable CT. 

Measuring for the garden are Peter Hunt (left) and Carie Tonovitz.

The money raised by LOLFSG’s crowdfunding campaign was launched to enable the organization to erect a deer/rodent fence and purchase tools and equipment. 

Ward was delighted to share with LymeLine that the deer fencing has now been ordered and is set for installation on June 5-6.  He noted that the Rubitiski family has offered their backhoe to dig a trench for the rodent part of the fence.

In other updates, he said that:

  • LOLCSG Board Member Amy Mastrangelo watches as Mike Baczewski of New England Pollinator Garden tests the soil at the garden.
    Baczewski generously donated the soil testing.

    Board member Amy Mastrangelo arranged for Mike Baczewski of New England Pollinator Gardens to take soil samples from the garden for testing. New England Pollinator Gardens is donating the testing to the garden project.

  • Estate Solutions of Branford donated several tools consisting of rakes, shovels, sprayer,  etc, with more to come.
  • A small group visited the Food For All Garden in Clinton where we were given a tour of the facility and the opportunity to ask questions about composting, fundraising, irrigation, volunteering, and many other topics. They also donated a picnic table to our cause.
  • A meeting is planned with United Way to discuss a possible collaboration.
  • The board has met several times in the past months and continues to work hard.
  • A bank account has been established and has a positive balance.
  • The Design Committee met at Town Woods and measured and staked out the garden area and installed “Future Site of LOL Food Share Garden” signs.
  • A donation of tools has been made.
  • A Region 18 high school student, Connie Pan, is painting a couple of Rain Barrels for us. One of the Rain Barrels is being donated to Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library for their new garden.
  • LOLCSG received a $350 grant from the CT Master Gardening Program. These funds were put towards the SustainableCT fundraising effort.
  • LOLCSG applied for a Pfizer Community Grant for an irrigation system.

If you wish to donate to this project, visit this link.

 

Comments

  1. Nick Griffin says

    Kudos on such a strong start to a wonderful project. Can’t wait to see this garden grow!

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