A Garden Grows at Friedman By Lisa D’Agrosa, RD

Even though we don’t have much green space here on our very urban campus in the heart of downtown Boston, Friedman does have it’s very own garden.  The organic space was first cultivated in 2009 for students, faculty, staff and the community.  I got a chance to speak with Meredith Epstein, Micah Risk and Billy McKerchie to learn more about the garden.

Where exactly is the Friedman Garden located and who has access to it?

The garden is located within the fenced park between Jaharis and Posner.  Friedman students, faculty, and staff can access the garden on weekdays during daylight hours.  As long as the gate is open, it is also open to the public.

Who takes care of the Friedman Garden?

A core group of student volunteers maintain the garden, though all Friedman community members are welcome to stop by the garden any time to pull a few weeds, harvest, or just enjoy the space. If you are interested in becoming an official garden caretaker, contact us!

What happens to the Friedman Garden in the off-season?

Aside from a few cold-hardy crops like garlic and greens, we put the garden to bed for winter in November.  This year we are going to use two small cold frames to extend the season a little further.  Things start back up around April.  While there is no formalized system for this yet, each year a couple of dedicated students who stay in Boston for their internships maintain the garden during summer break.

What do you do with the food grown in the garden?

The food is available for all members of the Friedman community to enjoy.  All that we ask is that you give a little to get a little.  We do our best to feature Friedman garden produce at official and unofficial school events like BBQs and potlucks.  In the future, if we are able to scale up production, it would be great to generate enough fruits and veggies to donate.

Can you tell me more about how the Friedman Garden and Quincy School work together?

In the past, the garden was used as part of an after-school program for Quincy Elementary students.  The kids have enjoyed planting carrots and lettuce in the spring.  The garden is home to the apple tree whose mate lives at the Quincy Elementary School as part of the Boston Tree Party project. This school year, The Friedman Garden and The Quincy Garden Project hope to collaborate further.

You just had a fun “garden-party event” – are there any other events for students coming up or ways to get involved, even if they have to wait for next spring?

We will hold an event to winterize the garden, and then once spring rolls around there will be numerous work days to get things going again.  In the meantime, there is always planning and record keeping to do.

Can you tell me a little bit about how the Friedman Garden got started?  Was it student motivated, or did Friedman staff get it going? How long has it been growing?

The garden was started in 2009 by a group of students interested in demonstrating urban gardening.  Dr. Jennifer Obadia, then an AFE student, spearheaded the effort.

What is the most rewarding aspect, for you, of volunteering with the Friedman Garden?

The garden provides a much needed outlet to keep my hands in the soil a little while studying in an urban environment.  With limited yard space and increasingly long waiting lists for community gardens plots, having this resource on campus is invaluable.

 Lisa D’Agrosa is a second year nutrition communication student.  She hopes to one day have a garden full of veggies, but in the meantime has been trying to soak up the remaining days of Farmer’s Market season here in Boston.  

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