Update on Edgewood Community Garden from Steve Sycos

There is progress being made in finding a plot for the community garden, as it detailed below by Steve Stycos:

Friends,

Community garden plans are progressing. We are focusing on the southeastern corner of the Edgewood Highland parking lot.

Annemarie Bruun discussed the project with Rich Pederson, who runs Southside Community Land Trust’s City Farm. He recommends removing asphalt whenever possible. Southside’s community garden coordinator is moving to Boston, so she is not available to meet with us. Her replacement says she is too busy to meet, so Annemarie may just go to her office to briefly get some details on how they run their gardens.

This morning, I met with Joel Zisserson, the school department’s head of grounds, the city DPW director Dave Ventetuolo and highway supervisor John Corso. Joel is supportive of the project and the city may be able to remove the asphalt, if we want them to.

Water, however, is in limbo. To make a connection to a water line now requires “a hot box,” or a heated box with a back flow valve to prevent contamination of the water supply. Just recessing a faucet in a box in the ground is no longer permitted. Dave estimated a hot box could cost $10,000 to $15,000. They suggested, and I agreed, that the best option, at least until we establish the garden, is to talk with nearby homeowners about running a hose from their homes and paying them for water. I will go door to door this weekend to talk with them. If that fails, I will go back to the school department.

We also discussed starting small and then expanding. Joel suggested phase one go from the last telephone pole to the far eastern end of the lot, but nothing is set in stone. Joel is also going to talk with the superintendent about a multi-year lease and liability. He also agreed to let us drill through the asphalt to do soil tests, if we want.

Joel, John and Dave also questioned whether leaving the asphalt in place and putting raised beds on top (as some community gardens have done) would work. They thought it would be hot and worry about how the site slopes, encouraging erosion. The slope is more pronounced when you look at it from the downhill side.

So we have a few more details to work out before we meet as a group to make plans.

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