Growth, All Year Long
“Where Community Grows”
Is it possible for something to grow in New England year-round (even when it’s only 17 degrees out)? The answer, in Somerville, is of course “Yes.” Because at the Growing Center, “Community” grows throughout the year.
Over the course of the last 29+ years and with the help of countless neighbors and citizen volunteers, this tiny, quarter-acre space has metamorphosed several times over. In 1993 it was a tiny, sloped sandpit that was turned into a beautiful shared garden-park in less than a year. Then, over the course of subsequent years, it evolved into what the
renowned urban sociologist and writer Ray Oldenburg refers to as a “third place” - one of those beloved stalwarts of community life often attributed to coffee shops, libraries, general stores and diners. How did it do that? Through the people. The people of Somerville over the years made sure that it would become so much more than a garden or park. It’s a playspace. It’s an outdoor classroom. It’s a nature preserve. It’s a concert hall. It’s a yoga studio, a picnic spot, and an auditorium. And the more people who discover it and spend time here, the more the community grows.
Always Something Happening
So even as we start to go through the cold, dark months of winter, let the images on this calendar warm you. In January, everything outside seems to be a swirl of gray and white - which helps us see the birds of winter that much clearer! Join us this winter for Winter in the Garden activity hours. February is a time for planning - order your organic seeds from us, and help us raise money through our partners at High Mowing Organic Seeds! March ushers in the ever-popular and venerated Maple Boil (now in its 24th year!), a joint effort of the Growing Center and Groundwork Somerville.
Then, the crocuses and snowdrops pop up through the snow, and it’s spring! April brings Earth Day, our first event of the growing season. In May, It’s Spring Garden Day, after which there are countless music and cultural events all summer long, not to mention Garden Work Days and free gardening workshops.
Children’s events abound from June to September, from the Teddy Bears’ Picnic in June, to Pajama Storytime starting in July; and from the Stuffed Animal Campout in August to the Gathering of the Fairies in September!
October sees the Harvest Festival, featuring pumpkin decorating and a celebration of the bounty nature shares with us throughout the year. And the fall season is not complete without a myriad of fundraiser sales, from Fairy Garden Nature Kits that benefit our Children in Nature Initiative to the Seasonal Salvage Sale, the SeedMoney Campaign and our Annual Winter Wreath Sale in November and December. This hands-on community-oriented project involves dozens of volunteers in hand-decorating evergreen wreaths with locally sourced pinecones, delicate dried flowers, and ornamental peppers and berries, topped with a homemade bow. A labor of love, this is our biggest fundraiser of the year!
2022: A Big Year of Growth
As we’ve mentioned before, 2022 was a major year for the Friends of the Community Growing Center. It was the first year since 2017 where we were able to offer a full season of events at full visitor capacity - from April to October! And we made the most of it. Over the past 12 months, we:
We also added more than 200 people to our mailing list, and nearly 400 to our email list! That is a LOT of new Friends for the Friends!
And here is our request at the tail end of the year: Did you experience any of the wonderment and magic of the Growing Center this year? What drew you in? What stood out to you?
And what is it worth to you?
Please consider us in your end-of-year donations. The Friends of the Community Growing Center is a tiny non-profit with a tiny budget. Our staff members work, collectively, 16-20 hours per week. Meaning we are 95% volunteer-led, and volunteer-fueled. But there are still bills to pay and supplies to buy from the spring garden supplies and tools, to programming materials; and from insurance to the port-o-potty that needs regular cleaning!
NEW FOR DECEMBER: As we enter the beginning of our 30th year, we’re starting to think about how WE can give back to YOU. So everyone who donates at least $75 per year (all at once or through monthly increments) will automatically become a member of our “Friends Collective” - receiving insider access to special events, Growing Center swag, and their names listed on our website.
Donate to the Friends today through PayPal:
Or mail use a check to:
The Somerville Community Growing Center
P.O. Box 76
Somerville, MA 02143
Thank you so much for reading, and happy hibernation!
The Friends of the Community Growing Center