“The garden isn’t my garden, it’s their garden. It’s our garden!” says Cora Clark, Arbor View Apartments’ Resident Services Manager with Community Preservation and Development Corporation. She’s gesturing to the raised garden beds, trees, and flowers behind her, and referring to the other residents of Arbor View. The garden is “a family thing.”
All of the produce is grown organically from seed. “I love tomatoes, and I don’t have to go buy them now,” says Cora. “Tomatoes are expensive. So I can go plant the seeds, and if I want a tomato I can go pick my own. A fresh tomato is fabulous and it’s healthy for you.”
Her motivation for sharing this knowledge is simple: “Stores are opening up for the organic foods and the healthy foods, but if you can’t afford to go buy that, what are you going to do?” Her answer: “Grow your own!”
“Not only is Ms. Cora cultivating this garden, she’s cultivating community,” said Amanda Marino, who oversees the Partner Garden Grant at the food bank. “Ms. Cora and the other participating partners do a wonderful job engaging the communities they serve”.
And the growing spirit has caught on beyond the garden at Arbor View; it’s now common to see gardens on residents’ balconies. The CAFB is proud not just to provide its neighbors with food, but with knowledge that empowers them to grow their own.