Vacant Springfield lot to become garden

Gardening the Community to grow fresh produce for local residents

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A group of dedicated young people are planning to clear a vacant lot in Springfield’s Old Hill section, and turn it into a resource for the neighborhood. The group Gardening the Community will till the land, plant seeds, and grow vegetables on the lot on Walnut Street.

Gardening the Community grows tomatoes, carrots and collard greens, among other healthy foods in three neighborhood gardens in Springfield, including one on nearby Lebanon Street. Twelve year-old Malik Muhammad feels he’s really accomplishing something. “It feels really good. You’re trained in growing your own food, it kind of gives you a purpose,” he said.

Malik thanks his older sister for introducing him to the community gardens. The project began several years ago. They either sell what they grow or give it to the needy.

“You can go down to the corner store, but all the food you can find is junk food, you don’t find good produce,” Faitha Muhammad said.

Their newest community garden will grow on a nearby vacant lot on Walnut Street that organizers recently purchased from the city.

“Oh I would like to see this transformed into a garden. Right now, we have about 10 foot weeds, taller then me. We would like this to weeded out and we have a special day picked out for this,” volunteer Jewel Melendez said.

That day will come Saturday, between 10:00 A.M. and 2:00 P.M., when neighborhood residents are asked to help the volunteers clean up the two thirds of an acre. The plan is to convert this neighborhood eyesore into a community garden. They hope to have its first vegetable crop ready by next year.

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