New community garden blossoms in Cos Cob

From left, Patty Sechi and Terri Browne Kutzen officially cut the twine, opening up the Bible Street Community Garden as U.S. Rep Jim Himes and town Director of Parks and Recreation Joseph Siciliano look on. –John Ferris Robben

From left, Patty Sechi and Terri Browne Kutzen officially cut the twine, opening up the Bible Street Community Garden as U.S. Rep Jim Himes and town Director of Parks and Recreation Joseph Siciliano look on. –John Ferris Robben

Good spirits were in full bloom on Oct. 5 when the Bible Street Community Garden was officially opened.

The community garden of 99 plots had been unofficially open since the spring but it was formally launched earlier this month with a special gathering that included fall family-friendly activities like apple bobbing, face painting and pumpkin pie recipe showdowns. And instead of a traditional ribbon cutting, there was a more gardener-appropriate cutting of twine to welcome everyone to the new community garden, which followed the very successful establishment of one at Armstrong Court six years ago.

The Bible Street Community Garden was the result of years of work from Patty Sechi, president of the nonprofit Greenwich Community Gardens Inc., members of the board and a group of volunteers as the land was turned from an undeveloped part of the town-owned Montgomery Pinetum open space into the soon-to-be-thriving garden across the street from the Garden Education Center. All 99 plots are filled by more than 100 gardeners who have signed up, and at the ceremony, First Selectman Peter Tesei noted some of the other proposed uses of the area through the years, from a fire training facility to a dog park to the site of a cell tower, and said it was clear this was the best possible use.

“In the beginning I thought it was pretty much all about good, healthy food and creating access to it,” Ms. Sechi said. “That is very important. Food insecurity and poor nutrition exist in Greenwich and a number of people struggle to put that good, healthy food on their tables. We need to continue to address that. But I think equally important is the spirit of community gardening which keeps us coming back to the gardens that we tend. That’s what we’re celebrating today.”

There was plenty of support on display for the project. In addition to the close to 100 attendees at the dedication, Mr. Tesei was on hand to read a proclamation declaring Oct. 5, 2014, to be Bible Street Community Garden Day in town and urge citizens to recognize the contribution of the gardens in town. State Reps. Livvy Floren (R-149th) and Fred Camillo (R-151st) were also on hand with a citation for good work from the state, and U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-4th), a neighbor of the property in Cos Cob, also offered his full support.

Ms. Floren called the new community garden “the second stop on our organic odyssey” and praised the success of the Armstrong Court garden.

“It’s proof positive that there’s only one Earth and we’re all on it together,” Ms. Floren said, adding that she hoped the new garden would flourish “weed free.”

Noting that he was the only Democratic politician there among all the Republicans, Mr. Himes declared that this showed that “cabbage and lettuce and tomatoes have bipartisan support in Greenwich.”

“Thank you, all, for making this a priority,” Mr. Himes said. “As the father of two girls I see that our young people spend almost all of their time in front of a screen playing online and everything, so the opportunity to get out here and get your hands dirty and learn that in fact food does not come pre-shrink-wrapped and it grows thanks to Mother Nature is a wonderful, wonderful thing.”

When asked what it was like to see it come together after years of work from herself and other dedicated volunteers, Ms. Sechi told the Post it was “like a dream.”

“This was a lot of work and it was a little dicey getting near the end of May and we weren’t opened yet, but we got open by May 24 and it’s amazing,” Ms. Sechi said. “This is a great time for us to do it. The fall is harvest time and people are coming together to celebrate all their hard work. I think it’s beautiful.”

During the dedication she thanked everyone who had been involved in the project. “You helped us on our path to becoming a sustainable and resilient community garden. Some of us have been on this journey together for a while, since 2008 when we started planning our first community garden at Armstrong Court … some of you are newer to our gardening community, but every one of you is very important. Yes, this community garden is the sum of a lot of planning and a lot of hard work, generous support and incredible dedication by countless number of people. I am grateful to each and every one of you.”

Rick Margenot, a longtime advocate of opening the second community garden, got in the spirit of the day by dressing up as “the Great Pumpkin” and serving as

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