Reaping many benefits of community gardens

Thank you for your important editorial, “Meeting the challenge of providing healthy food,” (Aug. 6). Since 2011, the Eastern Connecticut Community Gardens Association has been tackling this issue head-on. In 2008, President Dave Fairman learned from Homeland Security that residents of Eastern Connecticut had only a three-day supply of food available to them at any given time. He established ECCGA in 2011 as a nonprofit to continue the community garden movement and to act as an educational catalyst for the planning, development and harvesting of responsibly grown fruits and vegetables in local community gardens.

Our mission is to encourage and support community gardens in our region in order to create healthful food choices for all residents and to increase food security.

ECCGA encourages residents from all communities to start communal gardens for their own consumption, especially if there is not enough space or light at their residences or if they live in apartments or condominiums. This can save households hundreds of dollars a year.

Canning and freezing fresh vegetables can provide food throughout the winter. Eating nutritious food can lower the risk of diabetes, obesity and other chronic diseases. Working in gardens has proven health benefits for children, and provides a safe space for those suffering from certain mental illnesses. When people work together to grow food and re-connect with the land, communities and families grow strong, hopeful, confident and healthy.

Eastern Connecticut is fortunate to have many nonprofits, community groups, social service organizations, schools and senior centers that have their own gardens. In the past six years, ECCGA has helped over 100 gardens get started. Most gardens welcome new volunteers or have plots to rent at nominal costs.

Visit our website (www.eccga.org) for information. We encourage community gardens organizers to reach out to us. Anyone who wants to start their own garden can email for information at info@eccga.org.

David B. Fairman is president of the Eastern Connecticut Community Gardens Association of New London and Sally D. Halsey the director.

 

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