'Reaction beyond my wildest dreams': Portsmouth community garden to launch in 2022

·3 min read

PORTSMOUTH — The Portsmouth Community Garden will start taking physical shape as early as spring.

“We’re going to start building the fence and the raised beds then,” said Tricia Donohue, chair of the board of directors for the city’s new community vegetable garden. “We’re starting off right now with 30 beds, but if the demand is crazy, we have the capability to enlarge the garden. We could have up to 100 beds, but 30 is pretty aggressive to start.”

Donohue acknowledged when she first started working on the project she was “super, super surprised” that Portsmouth didn’t already have one.

Portsmouth resident Tricia Donohue wants to start a community garden for people to grow vegetables and come together as a community.
Portsmouth resident Tricia Donohue wants to start a community garden for people to grow vegetables and come together as a community.

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“With everything going on with our arts, and everything that we have in Portsmouth and it being a fairly progressive city, I was just really shocked,” she said.

Donations and support in abundance

Since a story published in April on Seacoastonline and in the Portsmouth Herald about her efforts to launch the garden, Donohue said she has been “overwhelmed” by the amount of support she’s received about the project.

Previous story: Portsmouth woman wants to grow vegetables, and community. You can help.

“I couldn’t believe the support I was getting. Lots of people just said, ‘What can I do to help?’” Donohue said. “The reaction was beyond my wildest dreams.”

The garden will be located at the Route 33 Park and Ride and the City Council earlier this year approved the installation of a water line on site, Donohue said.

The group, which is working to achieve official nonprofit status, has received more than $8,000 in donations to help move the project forward, she said, “including large donations from the Portsmouth Rotary Club and a local garden lover, donations from other community individuals and the Great Island Garden Club.”

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“In addition, local businesses and individuals volunteered time and expertise, including the garden design firm Terra Firma Landscape Architecture, the logo design from Meaghan Morrison, the website development and support from Gordon Reynolds and volunteer support for the future build-out from the Portsmouth Rotary Club,” she said.

The donations will be used to pay for the cost of the fencing, garden beds, soil, compost, insurance and water usage fees, Donohue said.

Goal to include everyone

The group has just launched its website at portsmouthgarden.org. It’s titled “Portsmouth Community Garden, a place to grow.”

The mission of the group, according to the website, is to “create a community space” in Portsmouth “where individuals and local organizations can grow food in a peaceful, respectful and inclusive environment.”

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There are annual fees to use the beds to grow your vegetables, but Donohue stressed “we will not turn anyone away if they don’t have the financial means to pay for a bed.”

“The garden is for everyone in the community,” she said.

Portsmouth Community Garden leaders are also working with Gather and hope that once they’re up and running “we’ll be able to grow some fresh vegetables for their kitchens,” she said.

The Community Garden is hoping to start accepting applications for membership by the end of this year, Donohue said.

“The Portsmouth Community Garden is another opportunity to preserve open space in a way that benefits the community. It’s all about community,” she said.

This article originally appeared on Portsmouth Herald: Portsmouth NH first community garden to launch in 2022

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