Vision

We seek to plant seeds of hope in our community by getting our hands dirty. While growing healthy produce for our neighbors in need, we look forward to building relationships across generations and among faith communities. At the garden, we can learn sustainable and organic gardening practices as well as laugh, enjoy the fresh air and help young children pull weeds. We hope the Giving Garden will be a place for building relationships, caring for the earth, growing good food, and sharing its nourishing harvest. Reverend Dana Allen Walsh and Steering Committee

How it began:

The garden was created by a group from South Church with the goal of becoming an interfaith, inter-generational mission to serve the poor while connecting people to the environment. In 2015, we began with a small pilot garden, installed a fence, and built a shed with the help of a growing group of volunteers. In 2016, we grew 3,500 lbs of vegetables on the quarter acre with the help of over 150 volunteers. We have plans to expand and look forward to welcoming more volunteers!

Get Involved!

We need many volunteers to make this work. No experience necessary! Whether you’d like to come help with your family, on your own, or with a faith or other community group, you are welcome at the garden! During the growing season usual work sessions include:

  • Sunday afternoonsppp
  • Tuesday evenings
  • Thursday mornings

The specific times for a week may change depending on the weather and needs of the garden. On site, experienced gardeners will greet you, describe the day’s tasks, and guide you as needed. We are eager to help kids of all ages learn and feel good about helping others. We ask that all volunteers sign up in advance to help our gardeners plan for each session. View the volunteer schedule and choose your slot to sign up HERE. If you would like to bring a large group, please email us so we can find a time that works for you.

Have experience gardening? We are always looking for experienced gardeners who can teach and guide helping hands.

Where do the vegetables go?

Ninety percent of the garden harvests are delivered immediately to the warehouse of Neighbors In Need, which operates food pantries 4 days a week in Lawrence and Methuen. Most produce is offered to pantry guests the next morning, ensuring that families in need have access to fresh, healthy, organic produce.

Ten percent of the harvest is provided to the kitchen at Rolling Ridge in lieu of a payment for their land. The chefs can then offer their guests farm-to-table meals.

Details

What to wear and bring: Make sure you wear sunscreen and bug repellant for ticks. A hat and water bottle are recommended. Gardening gloves are helpful if you have them.

What to expect: When you arrive at the garden, one of our garden hosts will ask you to sign in, give a quick orientation to the garden, and describe the jobs for the day. Tasks may include: spreading compost, planting, weeding, watering, harvesting, or sorting produce.

Large groups: If you would like to bring a large group of volunteers, please email us and we will find a day that works best for both our schedules. We may be able to accommodate a time outside our normal hours.

Children: Kids of all ages are welcome at the garden. Please plan to supervise any young kids you bring with you.

Weather: Many gardening tasks still need to get done even in wet weather. If we decide to cancel due to heavy rain or thunderstorms nearby, we will email those who are signed up.

Need to cancel? Please let us know if you cannot come either by canceling on the Sign-up Genius or through email.

Location

The Giving Garden is located on the grounds of Rolling Ridge Retreat and Conference Center, 660 Great Pond Road, North Andover. It is a lovely, rural spot surrounded by woods, wetlands and fields. Volunteers have spotted a wonderful variety of wildlife, including several sightings of a bald eagle! It is a peaceful place to catch your breath and reconnect with nature.

Check out our facebook group for more pictures and updates about the garden.

Thanks!   Thanks!   Thanks!

garden1

  • We are grateful to many people and organizations who have helped us!
  • Forever Green Landscaping and Samantha’s Gardens for donating labor
  • Iric Rex of Davis Square Architects for design and construction of the garden shed
  • Highland Farm of Merrimac, MA for donating many, many bales of hay
  • Mill City Plumbing for repairs to our water line
  • And especially Rolling Ridge Retreat and Conference Center for hosting us!