Gardens get boost from city, TD Bank

The Trustees of Reservations celebrated the launch of a new partnership between the city and TD Bank on July 30 at the Nightingale Community Garden on Park Street, highlighting the role of community gardens in Boston’s neighborhoods through community dinners, storytelling and community conversations, performances, and interactive play.

At the event, Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced the winners of the city’s third Public Space Invitational, a civic design competition that searches for ideas that enhance Boston’s public spaces. The Trustees, the state’s oldest land conservation non-profit with 116 properties and 56 community gardens in Massachusetts, said the new initiative, Community Grown: Art and Design in the Gardens, will be backed by a $225,000 grant from TD Bank over the course of three years.

“This is an amazing project and it certainly shows the creativity of the residents in this neighborhood and all the different gardeners,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh at the event before recognizing the three winning teams. “We’re working to create more opportunities to put more gardens in the city of Boston.”

The overarching goal of the initiative is to bring residents to the gardens who otherwise wouldn’t, said Michelle de Lima, an engagement site manager for the Boston Community Gardens project with the Trustees. “If you’re not a gardener, you might not feel like the spaces for you, or there’s anything for you to do here, but that’s not the case,” she said. “This grant is really going to help build the excitement around the arts and projects in our gardens.”

The team behind Celebrate & Activate, one of the winning projects, says it will “honor the cultural, linguistic, and agricultural diversity of Nightingale Community Garden, which features gardeners from more than a dozen countries.” The programs will include interactive storytelling events on the themes of sowing, weeding, harvesting, and composting.

The grant from TD Bank as part of their charitable initiative, Ready Commitment, which aims to foster inclusion at the local level. “This garden truly brings community members together that may otherwise not have not known one another,” said Joseph Doolan, head of environmental affairs with TD Bank.

“I think TD as interested in the green in this garden as the green in their bank,” said Chris Cook, the commissioner of the Boston Parks and Recreation Department. “They look at this as an opportunity to look to enhance neighborhoods that are present in.”

The funding will include workshops on building healthy soil, free yoga classes, and an introduction to vegetable gardening. To learn more visit thetrustees.org/artgardens.