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New Redbank community garden blooms in South Portland

The community garden will be the biggest in South Portland with more than 40 beds of free fresh produce for community members

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — A new community garden on the west end of South Portland is growing all sorts of fresh and organic produce, herbs, fruits, and veggies.

A few years back, the city of South Portland conducted a study where its community members said they wanted more community gardens. In an effort to fill a gap on the west side of the city, the Redbank Village community garden has been in the works for more than three years.

Thanks to several grants, help from the city, and help from master gardeners have made the new garden a reality.

Master gardeners Patti Smith, Donna Kane, and Wynne Wirth have all put in long hours of work to start the garden. They all hope community members help keep, grow and harvest it for many years to come.

"So far we have seven built, and our plan right now is 42 beds," Wirth said.

"We are hoping that the community will dictate how this garden will evolve," Wirth added.

The master gardeners will hold teaching days to tech community members on how to properly grow and harvest crops. The idea is for community members to pick it up and help keep the beds themselves.

"We have some massive community issues popping up right now, particularly in this neighborhood, with rent increases and everything we thought and are happy that at least there is a positive motion right now to bring the community together," Wirth said.

   

On Tuesday a new shed will be delivered to the garden. The purpose is to give all sorts of tools for anyone to use and return when they need to.

"They don't have to bring their tools, they'll come to the shed grab their tools work their gardens, and make it very easy," Smith said.

"There's been a big push in the city of South Portland to increase the number of trees and we've been pushing to have those trees be the types of trees that produce food," Kane said.

The gardens have fruit trees, all sorts of herbs, vegetables, and flowers.

"The way we got this done was with a community development block grant, which we got last year," Kane added.

"We are supporting folks who are coming here, particularly new Mainers, who are looking to potentially work the land and coming from a farming type community, and that Redbank was possibly a really good place to begin a community garden," Smith added.

If you are interested in learning more or want to keep a bed for you or your family or help with the community beds, you can email redbankgarden@gmail.com.

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