From the outside looking in, Bolton Landing is a tightly knit community. Jane Neil Caldwell, who’s lived in Bolton for almost 40 years, says she’s still searching for that community.
“We may be part of extended families, or be involved with the school if our children are students, or belong to clubs or a church, but we never seem to come together in one place, for one purpose, as a true community should,” she said.
Proposing a community garden to the Town Board was her way to help strengthen a sense of community among Bolton residents, said Caldwell.
“Most of us have gardens, some, in fact, are huge, but we garden alone,” said Caldwell. “A community garden gives us a chance to do it together, and, in the process, get to know each other better.”
Last Sunday, the committee of seven people organizing the garden helped sponsor a Community Work Day at the Bolton Conservation Park.
The sheer number of people who turned up with work gloves, brush cutters, wheelbarrows, shovels, pitchforks and rakes to lend a hand was heartening in itself, said Caldwell.
They came not only to prepare the site for the garden but to build the raised beds, clear the nature trail begun last year along the edge of the pond by Barry Kincaid, play music and to roast a pig for the supper.
“It’s our way of tithing,” said Tony Hinman, who was helping prepare the garden site.
Twenty-four 4×8 feet raised beds will be situated in one portion of the park; sixteen have already been reserved.
Patricia Huck is among those who have reserved one of the beds.
“My husband Wes has a garden of his own for his tomatoes,” she said. “I want lettuce, spinach and root vegetables. So this garden is for me. I even bought my own rake.”
To become a member of the garden, residents pay a $5 fee and agree to start planting by June 1; maintain their beds; garden organically; and share any excess food with the community.
According to Jane Caldwell, the surplus vegetables will be displayed in a stand at the edge of the park; residents will be free to take what they need.
That program was inspired by the example of Tom Curri, the former Bolton Central School superintendent who gives away the garlic he grows.
Curri told the Lake George Mirror that he began leaving his garlic out for his neighbors more than thirty years ago after his family’s house was destroyed by fire.
“We were devastated by the loss and yet truly amazed that people we didn’t even know were so generous to us,” he said.
Caldwell said the community garden will host a series of speakers on gardens and community gardens throughout the summer.
Speakers selected thus far include Bert Weber, the Lake George Village resident who serves as community garden coordinator for Cornell Cooperative Extension, and Jacqueline Lewin, a graduate of Lake George High School who now supervises events at Yale University’s New Haven Farm.
Photos: Dave Cummings preparing the site; John and Sean Crain roast the pig.
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