Raspberry Hill Community Garden: A Valuable Education Resource for Families
Community Garden Connects, Creates & Collaborates to Promote Sustainability & Self-Sufficiency in the Hilltowns
Carrying on a tradition of farming and self-sufficiency in the Hilltowns of western Massachusetts, Raspberry Hill Community Garden offers local families the opportunity to grow their own food in a community setting. Generally developed in urban or suburban settings, community gardens provide a space for growing healthy, delicious (and usually organic) food amongst a not-so-wild landscape. What sets Raspberry Hill Community Garden apart from other community gardens is its strong emphasis on community, rather than on gardening alone. In the Hilltowns, most homes already have space for gardening, so Raspberry Hill doesn’t exist just to satisfy a need for homegrown food. Raspberry Hill provide a communal gardening space that truly focuses on community. It’s a place to learn together and grow together; a space where gardeners of all ages and abilities can connect, create, and collaborate to promote sustainability and self-sufficiency within their community.
Located on the site of the former Guyette Farm, a Franklin Land Trust property, Raspberry Hill Community Garden has been growing since the ground was prepared in 2011. In addition to being a space for families to have their very own garden plots, Raspberry Hill also hosts educational workshops, and gardeners help out with a host of other garden-related projects such as seed-saving, orchard restoration, school programming, and donating extra food to local food pantries.
Raspberry Hill Community Garden is a valuable educational resource for local families, as it presents children with the opportunity to learn about sustainable and small-scale agriculture, self sufficiency, permaculture, plant identification, growth cycles, and many other gardening- and food-related topics. Families who don’t participate in gardening at Raspberry Hill are still welcome to take part in the garden’s periodic workshops, which teach visitors new skills. Upcoming workshop topics include hypertufa planter building, scything and haymaking, seed saving and pollinating, and canning and food preservation. Working to acquire new skills and knowledge can help children to deepen their connections to the local landscape, and can help them to increase their appreciation for self-sufficiency. While Raspberry Hill’s workshops are likely best for older children, a visit to the garden to learn through observation and exploration can be just what youngsters need in order to be inspired to learn more about growing food.
Interested in joining Raspberry Hill Community Garden? New plots have been added for this year’s season, so contact the garden to inquire about available space.