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A Word From a Community Gardener!

Community Gardeners are an important constituency at Grow Food Northampton, and we are grateful for their contributions to the strength of the local food system by getting their hands in our soil. This week, summer intern Mikayla Henzel spoke to one of our several hundred gardeners about her connection to the garden.

Gardener: Vicki Baum-Hommes

One of Vicki’s plots

Here’s a little background about Vicki!

What inspired her to take on a plot? Vicki explained that there was a variety of reasons why she wanted to lease a plot. She loves to garden and so does her husband Chuck, and they were missing that they could not do it as much as they wanted anymore. Also, they both love the sense of community, expressing the great difference between gardening at the Community Garden and her backyard. Plus, she added that Chuck loves to chat with other gardeners when at the Community Garden.

How did she hear about the community garden? Many years ago in the late 70’s or early 80’s Vicki had a plot at another community garden. Then after buying a house in Florence, Vicki and Chuck gardened in their backyard and over time, the neighbors trees shaded the backyard and prohibited them from having a successful garden. A year after the community garden started, she and her husband thought about having a plot with Grow Food Northampton due to its close proximity to home and their love for gardening.

People help you, you help them, you share plants, you share knowledge, and you just have someone to chat with when you are down here.”

How does it impact her life? Financially it benefits Vicki, because through growing her own food she does not have to spend money on produce at grocery stores. Also, she knows that the food she is consuming is totally fresh, organic, and healthy. Vicki spoke about how it both builds community and takes care of the Earth, because the gardeners know they are gardening sustainably.

Vicki pointing out different sections of her garden, specifically areas where she harvested last week.

How many plots does she have at the Community Garden? Vicki got her first plot 6 years ago, and a second plot 5 years ago.

Gorgeous day, you are just out in nature and in the groove and not thinking too much.”

How long has she had garden plots? Vicki became a member in 2012, making her a community garden member for 6 years!

Where is she from? Vicki is from New York, and now resides in Florence, MA.


A word from Vicki!

What have you learned at the community garden? Each year I pick up some gardening tips – a natural insect remedy, a cover crop to try, a new variety of vegetable to try. I have also learned about composting on my plot, more about pollinator plants and discovered some “weeds” that are edible!

What is your favorite thing to grow and why?  That’s a tough one! I guess I will pick edamame because it’s not easy to buy locally and they freeze well so each year I freeze some and enjoy them all year. Unfortunately the deer like them as well!

There is no such things as a bad view in the Community Garden!

Can you tell me about a favorite garden experience? That’s hard to answer too – so many!!  I guess I will go with riding down to the garden on my bike early in the morning, weeding and harvesting in the cool air, hearing the birds and then riding my produce home in the bags on my bike. I have also loved to help garden neighbors with tips and suggestions.

Do you have a favorite tool or a technique that other gardeners may like to know about?  Though we did not pull it off this year, we usually grow our cucumbers on a trellis to save space.

It gives you a sunny spot and a community.”

What does she grow? Vicki grows:

  • Green Beans
  • Edamame
  • Beets
  • Bok Choy
  • Kale
  • Cucumbers
  • Summer and Winter Squash
  • Spinach
  • Garlic
  • Scallions
  • Strawberries
  • Rhubarb
  • Napa Cabbage
  • Peas
  • Eggplant


Speaking with Vicki was a privilege and Grow Food Northampton thanks her for choosing our Community Garden to grow her roots!

The community garden is a very special part of Grow Food Northampton. It gives many residents of Northampton and nearby towns the ability to garden, whether or not they have land at home, are looking for a peaceful environment to spend time in or are unable to afford starting their own garden. With increased accessibility to gardening at Grow Food Northampton, the benefits are endless; people are able to grow food to feed their families and garden with a sense of community.

A particularly special part about the community garden is the different styles of gardening, all so beautiful and interesting!

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