Mattapoisett’s Community Garden is, sadly, now homeless – but not for too long, hope the 13 gardeners who have been cultivating garden plots in the soil of private property at the corner of Prospect Street and Pine Island Road for some time.
The community gardeners are wishful that perhaps a Mattapoisett resident with some extra land might graciously have between two-thirds of an acre to an acre of land to lease to continue the community garden activities of avid gardeners who themselves lack the space on their own properties to practice the fulfilling, relaxing, rewarding art of gardening.
Mattapoisett residents Eric and Claudette O’Brien don’t have the space on their postage stamp of a parcel, said Mr. O’Brien, “And I think that’s the case with a lot of people. They just don’t have the land, whether it’s shade or whether it’s simply the space.”
The O’Briens, who visit their garden plot at least once a day to water and tend to the growing bounty, had been enjoying another abundant summer of onions, garlic, kale, broccoli, and squash among other things when the community gardeners received the notice from the landowner that they needed to vacate the property by October 15.
Finding another location for a community garden is essential, says Bob Nichols, who has been gardening at the Pine Island Road site for seven out of the at least 10 years the Community Garden has been there.
Nichols said that historically there has always been some gardening of some sort at the current Community Garden site.
“She (the landowner) feels bad about pulling the plug on this,” said Nichols, “but she has to move on with her life ad I totally understand that.”
A house is now slated for construction at the corner lot.
“I feel bad for the people at the garden,” said Nichols. “I’m probably the only one who has enough room in my back yard…but most of the others, that’s 12 people who don’t have a place to garden next year.”
One thing that is a must for a community garden, says Nichols, is that there has to be a water source or the potential to install one. A community garden would be best if it were centrally located, added Nichols, “But that’s not a must.”
“Once we get started we’re pretty self-sustaining,” said Nichols. “As long as there’s water and we don’t have to do a crazy amount of knocking trees down and digging up stumps.”
Nichols said he was hoping to have another place for the garden by the end of this fall because a certain amount of prep work has to be done to ensure success in the spring.
According to Nichols, he approached the Mattapoisett Agricultural Commission back in May, which received Nichols’ proposal to find town-owned land for a community garden with enthusiasm, the commission even proposed two possible sites for the garden, Nichols said. Since then, though, Nichols says hasn’t heard anything back from the Town.
At this point, says Nichols, “We’ll take anything we can get our hands on.”
Anyone willing to offer up land on which the community gardeners can work their green thumbs, contact Bob Nichols at 508-758-8353.
By Jean Perry