Holley Community Garden

By on June 12, 2017

Community gardens are a great place for people to grow their own food and flowers, but they also offer community residents a very special way to connect with their neighbors and learn.

Those attending the opening of the Holley Community Garden were invited to take home a marigold as a natural way to deter garden pests. The Holley Community Garden is organic. K. Gabalski photo

Those attending the opening of the Holley Community Garden were invited to take home a marigold as a natural way to deter garden pests. The Holley Community Garden is organic. K. Gabalski photo

Community gardens are springing up all over our area and the Holley/Clarendon community recently took advantage of a $15,000 grant obtained by the Orleans County Health Department to start a community garden on a large plot of land off State Street (Route 31) on the east side of the Village of Holley.

The Myron Holley Garden Club and Clarendon Lions Club joined forces on the project, and members worked with Village of Holley staff to create the gardens. The two community organizations will now maintain the area.

Myron Holley Garden Club member Sue Persia organized a special gathering Memorial Day weekend in celebration of the new garden and to kick-off the planting season.

“This is going to be a community,” Sue said, as she welcomed residents, garden club members and community leaders to the event. “We are going to grow food, learn and interact with our neighbors.  It’s going to be a catalyst for the community.”

Holley Mayor Brian Sorochty said resident Brenden Bedard brought the opportunity to host the garden to the attention of the village, and members of the Clarendon Lions Club and Myron Holley Garden Club enthusiastically agreed to oversee the process of spreading mulch, constructing raised beds (including two which are high enough for those with mobility challenges), fencing, and placing a garden shed, which acts an an entry to the garden and a storage spot for wheelbarrows and garden tools.

“It’s a match made in heaven,” Mayor Sorochty said, regarding the effort by community organizations and the village to prepare and oversee the garden location.

Holley Mayor Brian Sorochty and Al Cheverie of the Orleans County Health Department prepare to cut the ribbon on the newly installed Holley Community Garden. The event was held May 27 to celebrate the garden and the start of planting. K. Gabalski photo.

Holley Mayor Brian Sorochty and Al Cheverie of the Orleans County Health Department prepare to cut the ribbon on the newly installed Holley Community Garden. The event was held May 27 to celebrate the garden and the start of planting. K. Gabalski photo

Poetry and music were a part of the event, and Sue Persia said she hopes to have monthly educational and cultural programs at the garden as a way for residents to come together, learn and make new friendships.

The Holley Community Garden is completely organic – soil placed in the raised beds is a combination of aged manure, screened topsoil and Nutri-Brew – an organic soil amendment composed primarily of brewery waste. Sue Persia said the Nutri-Brew was donated by Sara’s in Brockport.

She offered gardeners who have already rented plots for the season informational handouts with tips on organic disease and pest control including “recipes” for homemade solutions to fight everything from fungal disease, to weeds and insect repellants.

She also offered a handout on the “Benefits of a Community Garden” – of which there are many.

Here are just a few:

•Community gardens build community leaders

•Community gardens are recognized by many police departments as an effective community crime prevention strategy.

•Community gardens offer cultural exchange with other gardeners.

•Community gardens offer unique opportunities to teach youth about many topics including math skills, importance of community stewardship, and issues of environmental sustainability.

•Community gardens provide access to nutritionally rich foods that may otherwise not be available to low-income families and individuals.

•Exposure to green space reduces stress and increases a sense of wellness and belonging.

•Community gardens have been known to actually increase property values in the immediate vicinity where they are located.

Additional information on the garden and rental of available garden plots is available at the Holley Village Office and the Clarendon Town Hall.

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