When did the garden at Allen’s Meadow develop?
The ever-popular Community Garden took shape in the mid-1970s when Allen’s Meadow was, well, an open meadow. During that era, there was no available water and plowing was done—yes, you heard this right—by draft horse. Judy Glattstein, a gardening author, consultant, and instructor, was here in the early days and remembers it fondly. “Without water access, I would see how many one-gallon jugs I could fit into the back of my Volks-wagon Rabbit,” she recalls.
Glattstein proposed the installation of a point well, and the early gardeners each contributed $5 apiece. Plots next to the water source immediately became a hot commodity; gardeners could earn first dibs by helping stake the plot grid at the beginning of the season.
When it came to plowing, John Gregory of Gregory’s Sawmill and his wife owned four draft horses that needed to be worked in order to stay primed for competition. “It would take a three-car caravan, but they would get the horses there, harness them up, and plow,” Glattstein says.
Today all the plots are leased, with a wait list of twenty residents. “In those early days, people really encouraged and helped each other. It was more than a community garden—it was a community of gardeners.” According to those who lease plots there now, it still is.