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Westport Community Gardens Destroyed?


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Westport Community Gardens Destroyed?

Learn More About this Shocking Local News!

Have you heard of the Westport Community Gardens? You can get a small plot (a little like a row) to grow food in. Imagine fresh, healthy, and organic food that you grew yourself. That’s pretty awesome!

Unfortunately, the gardens are being threatened. They are located right next to Long Lots Elementary School, which is in the process of renovation because people are worrying that it will become overcrowded. There are big sports fields right next to the gardens. Those sports fields are going to be moved–and some say that they should be rebuilt right on top of the gardens!

It goes without saying that Westport does need sports fields and flat land in town is not easy to find. The gardens, however, are located within the sought-after space which is difficult to find. The gardens have been there for about 20 years and it would be extremely difficult to move them. Not only that, but to destroy the Westport Community Gardens would be to destroy the work of 120 members with plots, and the spirit of growing our food.

I interviewed Toni Simonetti, a member of the steering committee of the gardens who also has a plot there.

Q: What is your opinion on the possibility of the demolition of the gardens? 

A: I am heartbroken that they would even think about it because it’s such a beautiful place and when you see it in the summertime when it’s bustling with people of all ages have a woman who’s almost a hundred years old, and we have young kids that come with their parents-so it breaks my heart that they would even think that they could take that away. I understand that the school is in bad condition here. Long Lots Elementary School needs to be fixed, so that’s the priority and that should happen. I wouldn’t want my children to go to a school that has so many problems. But the plan that they have to fix the school incorporates a second plan to build some athletic fields, and that’s what they want to do here. They want to put baseball and soccer fields in this spot instead of the garden. So that’s the part of the plan that I object to. I want them to build the school; I really do. But I think that they can find a different idea for what to do with the soccer and baseball fields.

Q: What will happen to all the plants in the plot?

A: Well, some of the plants, like the vegetables, they’re planted, they grow for one year, you get your tomatoes, but they die, and then you start over. But some of the plants, like asparagus, or grapes, take multiple seasons to grow. So, asparagus, if you put it in one year, it takes about five years before you get enough asparagus to eat. So some plants need time to grow. Some plants will keep growing. So both of those would have to be taken out and moved. The fruit trees in the garden would have to be dug up and moved. We also have a grapevine that’s been growing for a long time, and it creates a shady canopy. That would be very difficult to move. It took a long time. So, in some cases, the plants die off anyway, but in other cases, like the grapevine, it’s really a problem, and we’re probably going to lose those plants. And for the big plants in the plots, we don’t know if they’ll be taken out and moved. It’s very uncertain.

Q: Are there any issues with the new area that is being offered? And if so, what?

A: Well, there are a few issues. The first one is that in the past, they used it to dump construction debris. That debris had some toxic chemicals in it. We don’t know how bad it is. It’s been tested once, many years ago, and it was very bad. We don’t know how well they cleaned it up. We don’t want to garden in polluted soil. And I know that I wouldn’t want to plant my food there. And if you know how a plant works, the roots are where it gets its food and water, so the roots are where it collects nutrients from the soil to bring to the leaves, the fruit, or the flowers. And it would be absorbing those toxic chemicals. So we want to make sure that the soil is clean. Another thing is that the only piece of level land there is has a lot of wood in it. And we need flat land for the gardens. So some of the woods would have to be chopped down. And we don’t like that idea because we’re trying to say that this is nature and we have trees around us and this is green space. We have butterflies and birds and all sorts of animals that live here. This is their habitat. And there are animals there too, and if we cut down all the trees, it will eliminate that natural space. So that’s a second reason that we don’t want to go there. And a third reason is that you can’t just move the garden. Like some of the trees in there, we can’t move them. I mean, we sort of could, but it would be very expensive. We would need to dig them up, dig a hole in the new area, and put them in there. There are so many things-like the grapevine, too-that we built. All the gardeners did these things together. So those are a few reasons why we don’t like the new suggested area.


As you can see, the gardens must not be demolished. All of the 120 members of the gardens are upset about the possibility of them being destroyed. Others are angry, and understandably so. Many people agree that the gardens are a great project that is extremely successful. So why knock down a “great project that is extremely successful”?

Plus, we have many sports fields and the Westport Community Gardens are very unique. Do we want to give up this special place for just another sports field? The options are to wait a little longer for a sports field when we have so many others or to demolish a one-of-a-kind garden and make them rebuild it (which could take years!).

Logically, it makes no sense to destroy the gardens, not to mention that some members are attached to their plots. It would also be really easy to keep the garden intact. From practically every viewpoint, it makes sense to keep the Westport Community Gardens.

Currently, nothing has been decided yet. There’s still a chance to keep our community gardens intact, and if you want them to flourish, you can help.

So, destroy the Westport Community Gardens, or keep them? What do you think?

Sources: ctinsider. com

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