Paul Mackey, the Deputy Director of the Somerville Housing Authority, stands with Clarendon Hill Garden Committee members Cliff Pitts, Jocelyn Scott, and Bing Wei, on the land designated for the resident community garden
The Clarendon Hill Garden Committee (CHGC), comprised of a group of residents at the Clarendon Hill Public Housing Development, is proud to announce a big step forward in their efforts to create a resident community garden. Last month Joe Macaluso, the Executive Director of the Somerville Housing Authority (SHA), granted the committee the use of 1575 square feet of land at the development to for a resident community garden, as well as access to water, and annual help with maintaining the garden. The location of the garden will be at the corner of Powderhouse Boulevard and North Street.
The CHGC formed last year as an off-shoot of the Community Action Agency of Somerville’s (CAAS) successful efforts to organize a tenant association. After several community meetings about forming a community garden, one of the CHGC members, Jocelyn Scott, took the initiative to ask permission from the SHA to adopt a section of land near her apartment, which she turned into a lovely flower garden. “Jocelyn’s garden beautified the development and helped build community as she enlisted the help of children to collect rocks for the edging of her flower beds and chatted with neighbors who complimented the garden,” said Melissa McWhinney, Director of Advocacy at CAAS. In the fall the CHGC wrote up a Document of Support for a Community Garden and collected over 120 signatures from fellow residents who also wanted to have a resident community garden.
The CHGC’s goals for this community garden are: to provide an outdoor communal space where residents can grow fresh fruits and vegetables that will encourage healthy eating and maximize income, offer gardening opportunities that will promote more outdoor physical activity, develop environmental education programming for adults and youth, and foster stronger social relations among the diverse group of residents who live at the development.
Next steps for making this dream into a reality is working with Groundwork Somerville consultant, Tai Dinnan, to determine a budget and applying for grants to pay for the construction of the garden. The CHGC will be hosting an important meeting for all Clarendon Hill residents on Tuesday, January 12th at 7pm in the Community Room at 268 Rear Powderhouse Blvd., room 15B. The purpose of the meeting, to be led by the Somerville Community Health Agenda Director, Lisa Brukilacchio, is to begin talking about the best design of the garden and to update interested residents on recent successes. For more information about the progress of the garden, call Rachel Bedick at 617-623-1392 ext. 141.