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Gardeners Vivian and Angela!

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 two of our several hundred gardeners about their connection to the garden.

Angela (left) and daughter Vivian (right).

Gardeners: Vivian and Angela

Vivian and Angela are a true team when it comes to gardening. Angela, originally from Texas, has started to grow her roots right here in Western Massachusetts. Her 7 year old daughter Vivian loves the time they spend in their garden plot, intrigued by Monarch butterflies, worms, and all of the fresh kale she gets to eat. She has also enjoyed the Giving Garden when she came for a field trip during Kindergarten! Occasionally, Vivian is joined by her 1 year old sister Evelyn!

Here’s a little background about Vivian and Angela!

What inspired them to take on a plot? Because of Vivian’s love of food, she wanted to be a gardener and grow lots of delicious fruits and vegetables! 

How did they hear about the community garden? Prior to having a plot at the community garden, Angela and Vivian had a share at Crimson & Clover Farm, located on Grow Food Northampton’s land since their 2nd year. Through Crimson & Clover Farm they heard about the Community Garden with Grow Food Northampton and were interested!

We’ve got pictures of Vivian when she was a baby sitting in the strawberry patch [at Crimson & Clover Farm].”

How does it impact their life?  It makes it much cheaper to have fruit and vegetables when they are grown in the garden, rather than at a store where you have to buy them. Vivian also made a point that it is so nice being outside and you may even get the chance to see a worm!

How many plots do they have at the Community Garden? As community garden members for three years now, gardeners Vivian and Angela started with half a plot and then moved up to a whole one. One plot has proven to be the perfect amount of space for these gardeners, allowing them to grow more food such as pumpkins and husk cherries.

A word from Vivian and Angela!

What have you learned at the community garden? This year we learned that you can spray water on our face to cool down! Also, sometimes plants will work out and sometimes they don’t, sometimes you have to use starts and sometimes you don’t. Last year we tried planting tomatoes and they did not grow at all and then we tried using starts and they started to grow, but even faster. And then in just a few weeks they were tomatoes! Tomato starts are way easier than growing them from seeds. – Vivian

What is your favorite thing to grow and why? I don’t really know. I like kale and broccoli. I like to grow watermelon, peas, kale, but we didn’t grow any kale this year. – Vivian

She eats kale like a lollipop!”

Can you tell me about a favorite garden experience? The time [Vivian] got to launch vegetables in the air! There was a little festival-like event where you got to launch vegetables in the air for one of the things they were doing. I don’t remember what it is called but it is like a fall celebration at the end of the season! They had a bunch of different activities in different spaces around the garden.  – Angela

Angela and Vivian use old coffee bean bags from local coffee shops. If you ask your favorite coffee shop to hold on to them for you instead of discarding them, you can use them as pathways for your garden!

Do you have a favorite tool or a technique that other gardeners may like to know about? I like the shovel. It is fun to dig down, down, down very deep where I find a lot of worms. My shovel just cut them in half and they kept duplicating! -Vivian

What do they grow?

  • Blueberries
  • Lettuce
  • Pumpkins
  • Husk Cherries
  • Squash
  • Watermelon
  • Peas
  • Kale
  • Broccoli

Speaking with both Vivian and Angela was a so much fun and Grow Food Northampton thanks them for choosing our Community Garden to grow their 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.

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