Friday, March 19, 2021

As Windham Community Garden grows, committee seeks new board with fresh ideas

There are many incentives to being a Windham
Community Garden board member and there are
discussions to ass a few more perks for those with
fresh ideas who want to join in.
By Lorraine Glowczak

The Windham Community Garden will soon be celebrating 11 years of bringing health and wellbeing to the community in more ways than one. Established in early summer 2010, the public garden has been promoting sustainable agriculture, reducing neighborhood waste through composting, and increasing access to fresh produce not only for the gardeners themselves, but through donations to the local food pantry.

Centrally located on Route 202 near the Public Safety Building, the new Skate Park and the impending family community park, the public garden initiative was the vision of a few forward-thinking individuals who thought that a public garden in Windham was needed and would be well received. Well received, it turns out it has been.

“The first year, we had four families who joined us, but by the next year in 2011, we had 37 gardeners,” said one of the founding members, Pricilla Payne, who currently serves as the secretary to the board. “Now there are over 50 gardeners with 75 beds, and we continue to grow.”

As the growth continues and expands, the community garden committee invites those who are looking for ways to cultivate their own food, seek a community of like-minded individuals or have the passion to learn about environmental sustainability to be a part of the ‘grow local, eat well’ movement.

“It is our goal to not only provide food sustainability, but to sustain the continued growth of the community garden,” said Marge Govoni, another founding member. “To do so, we are welcoming new individuals with new and fresh ideas – not just for the garden beds but as a garden committee member too.”

With only a fee of $30 per bed, per year with no plans to increase those fees in the near-future, there are many benefits to being a member of the community garden board. This includes supplying the gardeners with compost, tools and on-site water sources.

“Besides the fresh air, knowing where your food comes from and being among fun, like-minded people, there are many other perks the committee is considering,” Govoni said.

Payne added that other incentives are currently being established for those who want to try their hand at being a part of the board. “We are having a board meeting soon and will be discussing the additional advantages for those who want to be a part of the board.”

Gardening or horticulture experience is not necessary, “just a passion for the environment, gardening, and a willingness to learn,” Govoni said. The only expectations to be a board member is to attend meetings and workdays as needed. 

Additionally, the Windham Community Garden acts as a public neighborhood cooperative in a variety of ways. They work in conjunction with The Boys and Girls Scouts for project badges, provide garden plots for scouts to give away food to area non-profits like the MSSPA (Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals), as well as having a long-standing relationship with The Katahdin Program.

“The students at Katahdin use the greenhouse and garden plots as part of their experiential learning,” Govoni said. “This gives them the opportunity for hands-on education that can be easily transformed into a career.”

Also, it is important to note that in the past 11 years, the Windham Community Garden has donated more than 11,000 pounds of fresh organic food to the Windham Food Pantry.

“The intertwining community effort and support is among the community garden’s greatest strengths,” Payne said. “This garden is a huge asset to the community and to the folks that garden here.”

There are only a few garden plots left, so hurry to grab your spot in the sun, meet fun and interesting people and provide fresh vegetables and fruits for yourself, family members and the community.

“Whatever you invest in this community garden, you get back threefold,” Govoni said regarding the many advantages of the communal garden experience, both personally and for the greater good of society and the environment.

To be a part of the ‘grow local, eat well’ movement and for more information about the Windham Community Garden, visit, send an email through the website, or contact Priscilla Payne at 207-894-8237 or Marge Govoni at 207-892-7192. <

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