DOVER — A grassroots group of residents, known as the Dover Community Garden Group, is working to bring two community gardens to the Garrison City.
Last week, the Dover Conservation Commission and City Council both backed the establishment of gardens on Garrison Hill (on city property) and at the county complex on County Farm Road.
Annie Macadam and her husband, Daniel, spearheaded the effort after buying a house in Dover. The pair had been longtime apartment dwellers, and Daniel eagerly wanted to use his green thumb, but didn’t have the land to do so.
“He just loves gardening and loves to be outdoors,” Annie Macadam said. “There are a lot of apartments around us, so we thought Dover might have a community garden and were surprised they didn’t. We surveyed Dover residents, and while we thought we’d get maybe 10 responses if we were lucky, we actually got 85 individual responses, with most of those saying they were either interested or extremely interested in a community garden. The majority of them also offered to help plan and launch the garden.”https://bcc35398bcb9c1b4ad5670a5f9b014fd.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
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The survey helped the couple build a plan for the garden to present to both the city and county, based on ideal locations and both the needs and support of the community. A trash cleanup was organized at Garrison Hill last weekend to make way for the garden and beautify the surrounding area. Annie Macadam said that was really “the first step for Garrison Hill.”
How do I take part in Dover’s community gardens?
The gardening group has an eight-person board, which has already drafted bylaws and guidelines for members using the community garden. Annie Macadam explained that there will be a small yearly fee for users of the garden, which will pay the water bills and be reinvested back into the upkeep of the garden.
People looking to get involved can find the Dover Community Garden on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org://bcc35398bcb9c1b4ad5670a5f9b014fd.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Dover Community Garden Group is putting together a website for garden members to sign up and reserve a plot in the next week or two. As the couple waits for things to be finalized, licenses and permitting to be issued, and for the city work to be completed on Garrison Hill, the land for the county complex on County Farm Road has been primed and will soon be ready to seed. The hope is that both gardens can be planted sometime in May. Your stories live here.Fuel your hometown passion and plug into the stories that define it.Create Account
City Councilor Fergus Cullen sponsored this initiative, which he said he was glad to see come to fruition just in time for planting season. He was inspired by seeing other communities, like Concord, have large community gardens that thrive and flourish in terms of the health of the plants and in community support.
“It’s about the sense of community that can grow out of a place like that,” Cullen said. “You see lots of people from different walks of life working little plots of land, sharing water cans or hose tools. It becomes a place for people to relax, be outside, and for some people gardening is a form of therapy.”
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This isn’t the first time Dover explored a community garden. The Cassily Community Garden, once sandwiched between Dover Community Trail and Beckwith Ballfields, ultimately failed several years ago.
“The previous garden was a little out of sight out of mind,” Cullen said. “It was not in a visible location, it did not have access to water, and you couldn’t drive up to it. For a variety of reasons, that garden failed after a number of years. So, for many years Dover has not had a community garden.”
Garrison Hill will be the bigger of the two sites, with roughly 30 individual plots that can be utilized in full or half-sized plots with a communal area for larger items, while the County Farm Complex will hold about 12 individual plots.https://bcc35398bcb9c1b4ad5670a5f9b014fd.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
“I’m a physician’s assistant and just graduated with my master’s of public health, so for me, I wanted to build a sense of community and help people make healthy choices,” Annie Macadam said. “We hope that this gets people outside and gets people social. We see this as something positive they can be a part of and as a way for people to feel connected with other people in that community.”
Who is funding the Dover gardens?
The garden on Garrison Hill will be situated beside the water tank on the hill. Some work needs to be done to update pumps and water lines to get useable water flowing back up to the hill. The city agreed last week to spend roughly $5,000 to make that happen. The Dover Community Garden Group has provided an estimate totaling $8,846 of expenditures to get the garden going, which the board also OK’d. In addition to city funds, the Dover Community Garden Group has indicated it may engage in fundraising or donations or other fees to help support this effort.
Cullen said that this is an example of the “If you build it they will come” mantra. Even though this is just a pilot program, he sees the potential for it to expand and the interest in it to soar.
“We, as a community, are fertilizing this effort, weeding it and giving it an opportunity to grow,” Cullen said. “I think it can do exactly that. To me, it’s not about the cucumbers, summer squash, or fruit, because while it is a bonus, it’s about growing the community through the garden.
Gardening is how I relax!
It’s another form of creating and playing with colors?
My mission is to make people realize that even by growing a plant...
....it will make them believe in tomorrow?
And that’s life most valuable moment!?