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Rooftop Garden Yields Food Pantry Donations as Well as Camaraderie


November 03, 2020

Middletown Garden Club Continues Collaboration

For many clubs in The Garden Club of America, 2020 has provided some interesting challenges, as well as unique opportunities. Fortunately for the Middletown Garden Club in Connecticut, one of their key activities is thriving. For eight years, the club has collaborated with the Community Health Center and MARC Community Resources, a social services non-profit that works with adults with developmental disabilities. Every Thursday morning, a crew of as many as eight club members meets to garden on the rooftop of the health center—complete with a beautiful view of the city.

The goal for this project has been to grow gardeners as well as vegetables, herbs, and flowers. A professionally designed series of raised beds with sprinklers, purpose-built drainage, and rainwater recycling systems provides an ideal workspace. The rooftop garden is also used as an event and meeting space. Yearly donations to the nearby food pantry, Amazing Grace, typically weigh in at well over 250 pounds. Plantings are varied from year to year—this year’s crop includes sweet corn, kohlrabi, and okra, along with the usual collard greens, garlic, onions, spinach, kale, lettuce, peas, beans, cabbage, and tomatoes. 

The rooftop garden has been featured in Horticulture, as well as on the club’s 2017 garden tour. Neighboring garden clubs and environmental groups often visit. Recently, newly-elected Middletown mayor, Ben Florsheim, dropped by and left with a beautiful tomato. In addition to helping the MARC clients, the garden project has been a team-building exercise for the club, providing a welcome activity that offers time spent outdoors gardening and helping others.



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