A Garden Grows in Bridgeport
On October 5th and 6th, volunteers from the Junior League of Eastern Fairfield County had the pleasure of working in the garden at the Burroughs Community Center in Bridgeport. They weeded, mulched, and cleared dead vines from a plot that feeds 18 local families who ordinarily wouldn’t have access to fresh vegetables.
The beautiful early fall weather was a bonus, as well. Many of the volunteers brought their kids with them to help out.
“This volunteer opportunity was great! With just the few people we had each day, we were able to accomplish quite a bit in a short amount on time,” said Heather Loke who volunteered on Saturday. “I think it was a great opportunity to bring kids out for a different activity to help their community as well. We were given a nice tour of the facilities and learned a lot about all the services they provide.”
Once a housing complex for young women in the late 19th and early 20th century, the Burroughs Community Center is a facility that provides arts, fitness, and financial literacy for its community members. It also provides ample meeting space for local clubs and organizations. Young and old, rich and poor meet at the center and benefit from its programs.
Edie Cassidy, the Burroughs’ Executive Director, said the garden day was a great success and they hope to continue an ongoing relationship with the JLEFC.
“Thanks to the Junior Leaguers the garden looks totally different than when [they] started,” she said. “We see the garden we dreamed of beginning to emerge.”
The center has plans to reconstruct the existing garden layout in favor of permaculture. Permaculture is essentially a focus on a sustainable biodiversity. It lets nature take its course and allows for an agricultural eco-system to be self-sufficient.
“It will be laid out as a food forest,” said Lynn Pritchard, a local artist who originally designed the garden. “The whole place will be rocking with food.”
But, the garden became self-sustaining in another way. When it was first constructed, there was an open drug trade on the corner. Initially, some residents were even afraid of coming. Because of the constant community presence, the drugs have disappeared and a thriving open space is left in its wake.
“The garden just brought it to a higher level,” said Pritchard. “It’s about connecting people to their food and their environment. People soften when they come in. I’m just amazed at the difference.”
For more information about the Burroughs Community Center or to find out how you can help, visit them online at www.burroughscc.org or call 203-334-0293.