July 13th, 2017
Back-to-school season came early for some at Amherst Street Elementary School on Tuesday as staff members and other volunteers worked to transform the school’s tired, but loved, courtyard into what they hope will be a thriving and engaging garden.
The effort is the latest from GrowNashua, a nonprofit organization that focuses on developing small-plot gardens in areas that typically wouldn’t be associated with agriculture, and to provide education and encouragement to people who may not have the background or means to make the gardens thrive.
Several soaked but engaged volunteers grubbed, raked and weeded their way through the central courtyard during Tuesday morning’s rain, busily preparing the existing beds for new plants and new learning experiences for the school’s students.
The area has served much in the same way as a suburban home’s backyard. Flowers and shrubs bloomed, but have become a bit overgrown, in a handful of beds that had sprouted enough weeds to fill several read more...
Garden Club Interview
The Story of a Community Garden
Justin Munroe lives with his family in Nashua. As Founder of JMPhotography.com, he has specialized in Wedding Photography for the last 15 years and is also a lover of gardening. I recently met him at the UNH Master Gardening class in the spring. What impressed me about Justin is that he has jumped in to do something impactful for the less fortunate and to educate the public about gardening. He has garnered corporate support to start several community gardens in Nashua. The first garden is now up and running on land owned by St. Jo-seph’s Hospital. The second is in process at the Amherst St. Elementary School and the third will be on land owned by Dartmouth Hitchcock of Nashua. He calls this program “Grow Nashua”.
DB: It seems that you have a love for gardening - how has that been fostered?
JM: I just love all the different things that gardening "is". There is awe in the power of a small seed and how it can grow to be a gigantic plant that provides nourishment for our bodies. My grandparents and parents always had a little garden in the yard that they tended to and so I think it has always been kind of a standard thing to do. Once I had my own home my wife and I really started doing it for fun more than anything else and to this day still find it quite a relaxing hobby.
DB: What gave you the idea for "Grow Nashua"?
JM: We thought about how a refugee comes here and lives in an apartment and has a minimum wage job that
they are stuck in due to the language barrier. Last spring when we were planting, we thought read more...
Skip to minute 38:00
Local TV Broadcast
Justin Munroe of Grow Nashua, will be teaming up two community members to design a comprehensive and exciting presentation on how to structure classroom curriculum to increase students interest and knowledge of local food systems. The school gardening workshop will be held on February 20, 2017 for the Nashua School District.
UNH Cooperative Extension Field Specialist, Sarah Grosvenor, is in charge of building a curriculum for teachers Grosvenor explains that the curriculum will generally “present information that ties directly into what is included in the Food Systems curriculum, along with the Next Generation Science Standards that are encompassed in the lessons.” The workshop’s curriculum will highlight that “our current food system is unsustainable so we need to engage with the next generation on how to problem solve for the future.” Grosvenor is passionate about increasing education and awareness of sustainable gardening and her inspiration particularly stems from the price gap between local and industrial foods. Before joining the UNH Cooperative Extension team, Grosvenor was a seventh grade teacher who successfully incorporated local food systems into her class curriculum. Grosvenor’s past work focused on how “many of [her] students couldn’t afford to buy food from the farmer’s market, organic or local farms, but that gave [the class] rich discussion on why it is important for the next generation to find ways to make it affordable and to find ways to help make our food systems more sustainable.”
The Nashua School District school gardening workshops will aim to equip teachers with a customizable curriculum to educate their students about benefits of buying and growing local produce. Munroe and his team look forward to increasing Nashua School District’s awareness and involvement in school gardens.
The Nashua Telegraph
Volunteers got to work quickly Friday on the city’s Community Teaching Farm, turning unused land into a nutrient-rich garden bed.
A few dozen people worked together at the site, wielding rakes, shovels and wheelbarrows under the instruction of Justin Munroe, CEO of Grow Nashua.
The property, located on Lake Street, was lent to Grow Nashua by St. Joseph Hospital.
Munroe, the mind behind the farm, started Grow Nashua last fall with the help of the United Way of Greater Nashua. His vision is to bring Nashua families together to strengthen their community, while teaching them to farm and harvest their own fresh vegetables.
The program focuses on families that may not have the land or financial resources to have farm space of their own.
“We really want to empower people,” Munroe said. “We’re providing them with the foundation to grow their own read more...
NH Farm Bureau
Justin Munroe, CEO of the relatively new non-profit, Grow Nashua, explained its mission to “bring families together with a common goal of strengthening their community while learning to farm and harvest their own fresh vegetables.”
The group has a plot of land at St. Joseph’s Hospital where people from 12 different countries have been able to work on the “Learning Farm” prepared by 80 volunteers. The garden plot sign-up was filled in two weeks this year. The goal is to teach farming skills to those who don’t know them and to teach farmers from other countries how to farm in this climate. Graduates from the program, which includes workshops as well as in-the-garden training, will then have a chance to work either on a production farm (Grow Nashua is in the process of looking for land) or to create their own farming space. In time they should be able to sell their
products through the institutions that are supporting it
already—hospitals, schools, and other institutions. This
project has been embraced by the city, the hospital, United Way and the YMCA among other organizations.
Justin commented that he loves to see the family
grandmothers get out of their houses and meet in the
gardens, because an underlying theme is developing
community. Any time there is a meeting or workshop, Grow Nashua hasto hire two translators and also rely on people to translate for each other.