Volunteers harvest veggies for those in need

MYSTIC, Conn. (WTNH)– The Giving Garden at Coogan Farm in Mystic is a community effort to help others in the community.

You can hear chatter among the many volunteers, “yeah rake it a little and yeah it’s done it’s ready for replanting.”

Among them are several members from The All Souls Unitarian Universalist Congregation in New London.

Mary Ann Ricker tells News 8, “so we’re getting it ready for Swiss chard. We’re going to replant.”

These women aren’t seasoned farmers just volunteers happy to help.

“I knew nothing about vegetable gardening. I’m learning,” said Jane Allen.

They till the soil and harvest the vegetables for folks who are in need.

Anne Roberts-Pierson says, “it’s a very satisfying feeling of doing something that you think is going to help somebody out. Absolutely isn’t it gorgeous, beautiful stuff, beautiful stuff.”

A community effort starting with a group of pigs which cleared the overgrown land at the Coogan Farm in Mystic. The seeds were then planted and they’ve now had four harvests in this first year.

“We’re getting our first crop of tomatoes. We’ve been able to bring up turnips. We’ve had radishes. We’ve had some Swiss chard,” said Nancy Rossi, United Way Gemma Moran Food Center.

Picked in the morning and distributed to families at one of the Gemma Moran Food Center’s mobile food pantries the same afternoon.

Rossi explains, “for a lot of individuals it’s the most expensive, the least accessible, and the most needed in a diet.”

Farm Manager Craig Floyd says they can always use more volunteers to keep this program growing.

“That’s what this is all about. Help the person on the other end. That’s what it’s all about,” says Floyd.

On a nearby plot three pigs are also hard at work clearing that land. It is the fourth plot. All together they hope to have ten plots on this Mystic farm.

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