Sunday, May 29, 2011

Community Garden = Bundle of Sticks

What does a bundle of sticks have to do with a community garden?

Let’s step back a bit, and I will explain.

Last year, my youngest son came home with a short play script from an Open Circle meeting he attended in Mrs. Sherlock’s kindergarten class at Oak Street Elementary School.

The play was titled A Bundle of Sticks.   It was about a man and his 4 sons and a problem they were having (fighting amongst each other) and how a solution brought them together.

Read it for yourself:

(click to enlarge)
That paper from school did not go in the read/recycle box at home.  It went into my raggedy community garden binder, a collection of dreams and lists and examples of community gardens that had yet to be shared with anyone. 

My takeaway was that the bundle of sticks could represent any Big Problem for any project.  It was not about arguing; it was inspiration about solution-finding. That one person could not possibly break a bundle of sticks alone.

One day in May of last year, after having finally connected with a group of folks who had future community garden dreams as well, I re-opened my folder and saw the play.

What we had here was a really, really big bundle of sticks.  A full truckload of sticks.  How could we possibly make a real community garden? Even more, get one done in less than a year? Where in the heck would we even begin?

By giving out that truckload of sticks.

One twig at a time.

to everyone and anyone who extended an open hand.

And then everyone broke their stick,

(or stick after stick after stick)

Until that Huge load of sticks

Turned into a pile of broken sticks

Which, in turn, became


Thank You to Everyone who broke sticks with us, or for us.  

Look what you have helped create:


What’s your particular bundle of sticks?

For more information on Open Circle:

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Franklin Resident Steve Sherlock was kind enough (and tech-y enough!) to capture the Grand Opening of Franklin's brand new King Street Memorial Community Garden on video and streamed it live.

On Franklin Matters

How cool is that?

Tommorow, pictures.

The garden as I left today was full of life and growing things.

Way more than a garden.

Come visit.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Community Garden Grand Opening This Saturday 9 AM!

The Franklin Community Garden Committee is proud to announce that the Grand Opening Day of Franklin's first community garden will take place this Saturday, May 28th at King Street Memorial Park located off King Street in Franklin. A ribbon-cutting will be held at 9:00 a.m. 

A fundraiser plant sale is planned as well featuring locally grown vegetable starts.

Plots were assigned through a lottery drawing and winners have been notified. A wait list has been established as well.

Gardeners who have paid the lease fee may begin working in their plots on Opening Day. Lease payments are due by June 7th and will be collected by Franklin Recreation. Gardening can not begin until the $40 fee has been paid.  Payments can be made at the Recreation Department at 150 Emmons Street (Old Town Hall). The hours are Mon, Tues, and Thurs 8:30-4:30; Wed 8:30-6:30pm, and Fridays 8:30-1:30 pm
The garden features 46 large raised beds leased to gardeners. The Franklin Food Pantry will garden 4 of those beds; other beds have been assigned to individuals, families, and community groups.  Several of the beds are designed for easy access.

Many of the gardeners will be participating the Franklin's Plant A Row to Share program.

For more information on  Plant A Row, please visit

Here's a picture from (a very sunburned!) Garden Coordinator Chris Clay taken just after he & committee member Deb Schwab numbered the beds, thank you Chris & Deb,  on this very afternoon the day before we open:

The guys  from the Fence Co. are keeping it real.  Down to the wire, and we are unbelievably grateful.
Hope they never know that they are now shirtless on the web as well.   The fence guys, not Chris and Deb. It was hot. They are entitled.

See you all  tomorrow!!!
Wear shirts though, okay? I blush easily.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

We know who the winners are!

And if you registered for a raised bed, you will have your answer very soon.

The Community Garden Committee will email and/or phone you Wednedsay with either some

Good News: Your number was drawn! (42 winneers)
 or, some
 Okay News:  You're on the Waitlist (party of 15.)

Once winners have been notified, they will be responsible for the $40 fee, this will be handled by Franklin Recreation.

Welcome packets and garden info will be made available to the Gardeners, these will be available for pickup at the Grand Opening at the garden on Saturday, May 28th at 9:00 a.m. as well as at the Rec office and online.

No Gardener should begin to work in the garden until Saturday, May 28th, and must have a confirmation that the fee has been processed. 

Lottery winners will have until June 7th to pay their lease, any unpaid beds will then go down the waitlist.

Looks like we are going to need to build another garden or few, someday, somewhere.

I stopped by Tuesday afternoon while the fence poles were going up,  nice work, guys!

Got a good look at the (sub)soil from the post hole diggers.  Yuck. 

It is a Good Thing we have raised beds, and deep ones at that.

The bed mix is about 50% organic compost and 50% screened loam.  It will grow wonderful veggies for you, and will feed them well, no fertilizer needed.  When things settle down, maybe I can get Garden Coordinator Chris back in here to do a raised bed post.  It's a little crazy right now, getting this garden set up.  Just a bit.

Looks like it is going to be a nice weekend......A great weekend to get your garden going!

There will be veggie plants for sale as well, so if you are looking for some local stuff, come on by this Saturday!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

And the Winner is........

Don't worry, we haven't drawn yet, there's still time to get yourself or your organization entered.

We are so very excited about the King Street Community Garden lottery!

There are a few more days to register, the lottery closes at 3 p.m. on Monday, May 23.

click here to jump to registration link at Franklin Rec
or drop by the Franklin Recreation Dept on Emmons Street during business hours.

As of this writing, there are 52 entrants.  Goosebumps. (and to think we were worried that the garden might not fill............well, no problemo, it seems.  You all are just as pumped as we are!)

Out of the 46 raised beds that have been built and filled, we are reserving 4 for the Franklin Food Pantry (more on that later), which leaves 42:  4 will be Easy Access, 8 will be for groups/organizations (faith, scouts, other nonprofits) and 30 for Franklin households/individuals. 

The drawing will be done that evening, Monday May 23rd, at the Franklin Community Garden Committee meeting at which starts at 6:30 pm.  That meeting, as are all of the meetings, will be held at the Franklin Municipal Bldg on West Central Street, Room 205 on the 2nd floor.  Winners do not need to be present, but it would add to the fun (thrill! joy! etc!) if some were.  I am bringing cookies.....

Save the Date:  Saturday, May 28th
Opening Day at the Garden!!!!

yep, we're planning a bit of something.........

Here's a glamour shot from Saturday, May 14th:

The beds are Done!

The garden will soon be fenced and have running water, as well as lovely woodchip paths.

Standing ovation to our outstanding volunteers the past 2 Saturdays who rolled up their sleeves and made this happen. 

We would just be looking at a
pile of lumber and dirt
if it weren't  for All of You. 

Heartfelt Thanks.

Please visit the Thank You page to see what a community can do together, and thank the businesses and individuals for their contribution.

until next week.............

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Build Day Success!

Thanks to a hardy bunch of volunteers we had an amazingly successful build day today.  We completed 44 of our planed 46 beds, and we stopped short only because we had some cracked boards in the mix that we had to discard.  I was so busy throughout the day I wasn't able to take any pictures, so with a little narcissism thrown in you get the one David took of me at the end of build day.

The build day started with plenty of chaos as we quickly realized that our cordless drill battery packs weren't going to get us through the build.  Quick work by Jim got us a generator to charge batteries on, and access to outlets at the King St. concession stand to charge more.  With ratchets, and a cycle of battery packs we put together around twenty of the beds by lunch.

I'd like to thank the town for helping get our compost and loam into the garden this morning for easier access.  We managed to fill a few of the boxes with compost and loam thanks to our volunteer bobcat driver, but a prior commitment meant he had to leave early.  We will finish filling the rest sometime in the coming week.  Once we have more details we'll be looking for a few brave souls to help us finish the beds off.  It'll be an exciting couple of hours of raised bed jigsaw as we move them around to make room for the bobcat and then move them back into their final positions to be filled in turn. 

I'd like to call out the ingenuity of our team leaders in coming up with modifications to optimize the build process from pre-drilling and setting up screws ahead of time to standing the raised beds on edge to ease lining up the boards.  I've always considered genius the ability to adapt to any situation to produce excellent results, and our team leaders and volunteers certainly did so with flourish.

The afternoon saw the addition of another generator and corded drills which provided a steady addition to the cordless drills.  It also heralded an amazing thunderstorm with driving rain and hail!  Huddled under our tents our roaring laughter at a steady stream of jokes and physical comedy was something I'll never forget.

Once the sky cleared we quickly finished off the last of the beds, and called it a day and started breaking down almost an hour ahead of schedule.

Once again a great big thank you to all of our volunteers!  The various levels of compression mangled my time lapse images of the build day somewhat, but my first render is up on youtube.  You can see the whole day unfold in about ten minutes.


Chris Clay, The Franklin Community Garden Committee, and Friends of Franklin Community Gardens, Inc.

PS. Sorry Ryan and Carlos for driving my car on your fields, but it was the only way to get the big generator to its needed location!

Friday, May 6, 2011

And Now, A Few Words From Our Captain

Have you met Chris yet?
He's the go-to guy for the garden at King Street, our Garden Coordinator.
This went out tonight to all the volunteers. It was too awesome not to share.

Hello Everyone,

After a full day at the King St. Park overseeing the delivery of the compost/loam, and spray painting the aisles we're more than ready for tomorrow to be here.  We'd like to send a big thank you to Archie Acevedo for handling the pre-cutting of all of our wood for build day.  We're going to be in great shape thanks to his efforts.  Another big thank you to the YMCA for their financial support through the Mass in Motion grant to pay for build day.  I'd also like to extend a big thank you to Whole Foods for providing a plethora of snacks for us tomorrow. Last but not least, a giant thank you to all of you for volunteering your time. 

By all accounts mother nature has decided to blow in some unpleasant weather for us with scattered showers on the docket for tomorrow.  We will have three large tents on hand to help us shelter through showers, but be sure to bring some wet weather gear.  At this point we are planning with moving forward with build day and trying to work around the weather.  If it gets really nasty we will call it and move the remaining work to our rain day May 14th.  In the event we do call it we will send out an e-mail to alert all of the afternoon crowd.

To re-iterate there will not be any power on site, so if you have a cordless drill please bring it along with your shovels, rakes, forks, and wheelbarrows.  We will have a bobcat to assist in moving dirt to the beds, but we will be doing some work by hand so get ready to get dirty!  We will be using 3/8th Hex Bits to drive the Timberlok screws.  We will have 11 of these bits on site, so we will not need anyone to bring additional bits.

I hope you all have a great night sleep, and I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow at 9am or in the afternoon from 1-4pm.


Chris Clay,  The Franklin Community Garden Committee, and Friends of Franklin Community Gardens, Inc.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Garden Registration is Officially Open!

Calling all prospective Gardeners!
The wait is OVER!

Hop on over to the Franklin Rec page and sign up! click on the words  Online registration, below:

Community Garden
Sign up online for a plot to grow your own vegetables at the King Street Community Gardens.  Or volunteer to help out on Build Day (May 7, either 9am-12pm or 1pm-4pm).  Register on our Online registration

Important: when the link opens, Click on "Register for Activities", then select "Community Garden".
How's it going to work? You ask.
Sign up for the lottery online, hurry up, get your name in or register for your community group because the deadline for the drawing is May 23rd at 3:00 p.m.  It is free to enter the lottery, winners will be responsible for the $40 per season charge for a plot.  A "plot" in this garden is actually a 4 foot by 10 foot by approx. 24" high raised bed, filled with a mix of organic compost and screened loam. The sides will be untreated spruce.

If you can not or choose not to do this online, you may go to the Franklin Recreation Department during business hours.

On Friday May 23rd, we will do the lottery drawing in public at the Franklin Community Garden Committee meeting held at the Franklin Municipal Bldg on East Central St, room 205, at 6:30 p.m.  You will be notified if you or your group was assigned a space, and you will be charged the $40.  You do not need to be present for the drawing, but there might be, like, cookies....Just saying.

The Garden's Official Opening Day is lined up for Saturday, May 28th, weather permitting.

Thank you to everyone who has helped bring this project closer to reality.  The major "pinch me" moment will come on Saturday morning, Build Day, but as I walked through King Street recently through the stakes and over to the water pipe and mentally surveyed the site, I about lost it.  Clicking on the Build Day sign up form and seeing new names---out of the woodwork, out of the ether---Names attached to People who will be digging and building and hauling and creating and making and growing and sharing. 

That is community building, my friends. Franklin, you totally rock.

If you are just hearing about this new community garden now, hope you can join us on Saturday, May 7th for Build Day.  Click on the top of this page to volunteer---Sign Up for Build Day---and meet us at the park on Saturday.