In response to a demonstrated community need for access to healthy food and gardening education, the URI Outreach Center established the Roger Williams Park Community Garden (RWP CG) in partnership with the Providence Parks + Recreation Department in 2011. According to the US Department of Agriculture Food Desert Locator, the Washington Park neighborhood in Providence is a food desert, with 83.2% of residents having low access to a supermarket or large grocery store. The RWP CG, located within a mile of this USDA 'food desert', directly serves residents of this neighborhood, providing 45 community plots for a total of 2,350 square feet of growing space for produce, recreation and wildlife gardening.
The RWP CG is a hub for on-site training on sustainable practices and gardening education. It features 12 teaching plots where URI Master Gardeners (MGs) demonstrate a number of sustainable and organic gardening methods, including succession planting and a Three Sister's, square foot and vertical gardening for small spaces. The garden also features a pollinator garden composed of native plants propagated through the Rhody Native Initiative, and 4 Children's Garden plots tended by URI Master Gardeners and utilized in youth programming.
Garden plots at the Roger Williams Park Community Garden are 10' long x 5' wide (50 ft2), and are offered to Providence and Edgewood residents for $30/year, plus $10 clean-up deposit each (you may request more than 1 plot).
If you are interested in obtaining a plot at the Roger Williams Park Community Garden for the 2012 season, please click here.
Community gardeners of all ages from three Providence neighborhoods garden alongside URI Master Gardeners and attend MG- and URI staff-led workshops twice per month from May through October. Gardeners are also afforded the opportunity to schedule troubleshooting sessions with MGs. This one-on-one attention has proven to be very successful to engage gardeners of all experience levels.
The RWP CG is a member of the Providence Community Growers Network (CGN), and is represented by URI staff and community gardeners who sit on the CGN Council.
|Vanessa Venturini planting at the park|
The edible forest garden at Roger Williams Park demonstrates ecological urban landscape management and produces market-viable fruits, nuts, fuel, fiber and vegetables. The edible forest garden will grow to be a diverse, highly productive addition to the forested landscape in Roger Williams Park, and will meet the needs of humans and wildlife.
On April 21, 2012, URI Outreach Center staff and Master Gardener volunteers planted Phase One of the edible forest garden design, which was developed during the winter months. Phase Two was planted in September 2012, which leaves only a select few plants to install in the spring 2013. Thanks to generous grants from the RI Wild Plant Society, the URI Honors Program and Providence Provision, the edible forest garden will feature four layers of native and exotic edible vegetation, mushroom cultivation demonstrations and habitat for native bees by the end of 2012.
As the garden matures, its products will supplement produce grown in the nearby Roger Williams Park community garden. Community residents living in food insecure areas will have access to fresh, local produce, and are invited to participate in harvesting and maintenance with community gardeners and URI Master Gardener mentors.
The EFG Installation & Maintenance Team gathers materials, coordinates workdays and tends to the garden. If you are interested in joining the team, click here!
Mark Scialla giving a tour of the Edible Forest Garden in Roger Williams Park
|Master Gardeners Jim Holt and Sue St. Jean install new plants in the Edible Forest Garden|
Roger Williams Park Community Gardens, photo by Michael St.Jean
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