Old Lyme Community Garden Moves Forward and Nears Fundraising Goal



Lyme-Old Lyme Community Share Members of the garden board gather for a photo. From left to right, Jack Larocca, Jim Ward, Peter Hunt, Amy Mastrangelo and Sheila McTigue-Ward.

OLD LYME –the Lyme-Old Lyme Food Share Garden (LOLFSG) challenged itself at the end of March. The group launched a crowdfunding campaign with a goal of $ 7,500.

If this amount is successfully raised before May 26, then The project will receive a matching grant of $ 7,500 from the Community Match Fund of Sustainable CT – an initiative of the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University that inspires, supports and recognizes the action of sustainable development of state cities.

The Community Match Fund – supported by the Smart Seed Fund, the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation and the Connecticut Green Bank – provides dollar-for-dollar matching of donations collected from the community, doubling local investments in projects.

As of today, the campaign is worth $ 7,145.00!

Jim Ward, resident of Old Lyme, is the inspiration behind the Lyme-Old Lyme Community Garden.

Asked what he thought of the community’s response to the campaign, project author Jim Ward said, “We are extremely happy and excited about the support from the community. Not only are we on the verge of reaching our goal, but we have also added several new volunteers. The generosity of the people of Lyme / Old Lyme demonstrates their commitment to helping those in need.

He added: “I would also like to thank SustainableCT for making this possible.”

The LOLFSG celebrated a milestone on May 1 when members of the Garden Board and Design Committee staked the perimeter of the future food sharing garden at Town Woods Park in Old Lyme.

All products from the garden will be donated to pantries and food banks in the area.

Ward, a resident of Old Lyme since 2006, was the inspiration behind the project. While working on his UCONN Master Gardening Certificate in 2020, he volunteered with Food for All Garden in Clinton, CT.

As a volunteer, he was impressed with the organization of the garden, humbled by the increasing demands on food banks and community pantries, and energized by the sense of community that the garden embodied. He noted similar trends by visiting similar gardens in Old Saybrook, Pomfret and Killingworth and sought to develop a garden in the Lyme-Old Lyme area.

Over the following months, Ward worked with several city agencies to purchase a site at Town Woods Park, a recreation park overseen by the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission.

Ward describes the site as “ideal” in that the sports fields are organically maintained and the plot of land, in addition to the fields, contains a playground and the Lymes Elders’ Center, making the garden accessible. to multigenerational families in cities.

In addition, he notes, thanks to generous cooperation with the Parks and Recreation Commission, the garden has access to water, electricity and parking.

LOLFSG plans to have a fully functional garden by spring 2022. To make this vision a reality, the organization is actively involved in grant writing and fundraising.

Notably, the Lyme-Old Lyme Food Share Garden raises funds through a crowdsourcing effort supported by Sustainable CT.

The measurements for the garden are Peter Hunt (left) and Carie Tonovitz.

Money raised through LOLFSG’s crowdfunding campaign was launched to enable the organization to erect a deer / rodent fence and purchase tools and equipment.

Ward was delighted to share with LymeLine that the deer fences have now been ordered and are expected to be installed on June 5-6. He noted that the Rubitiski family offered their backhoe to dig a trench for the rodent portion of the fence.

In other updates he said that:

  • LOLCSG Board Member Amy Mastrangelo watches Mike Baczewski of New England Pollinator Garden test the garden soil.
    Baczewski generously donated the soil tests.

    Council member Amy Mastrangelo asked Mike Baczewski of New England Pollinator Gardens to take soil samples from the garden for testing. New England Pollinator Gardens donates the tests to the garden project.

  • Real estate solutions de Branford donated several tools including rakes, shovels, sprayer, etc., with more to come.
  • A small group visited the Food garden for all in Clinton, where we had the opportunity to tour the facility and ask questions about composting, fundraising, irrigation, volunteering and more. They also donated a picnic table to our cause.
  • A meeting is scheduled with Centraide to discuss a possible collaboration.
  • The board has met several times over the past few months and continues to work hard.
  • A bank account has been opened with a positive balance.
  • The design committee met in Town Woods and measured and staked out the garden area and installed “Future Site of LOL Food Share Garden” signs.
  • A donation of tools was made.
  • Area 18 high school student Connie Pan paints a few rain barrels for us. One of the rain barrels is donated to Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library for their new garden.
  • LOLCSG received a grant of $ 350 from the CT Master Gardening program. These funds were earmarked for the SustainableCT fundraising effort.
  • LOLCSG applied for a Pfizer community grant for an irrigation system.

Editor’s Note: If you want donate to this wonderful project, visit this link.


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