The Harpswell Community Garden’s celebration of its 10th year revolved around one simple idea — showcasing the garden itself. After considering outside venues for the event, Peg Newberg said, organizers decided that they wanted “people to be able to see and get to know the garden.”
Newberg said that she and fellow members of the volunteer committee that manages the garden also saw the July 30 event as an opportunity to showcase like-minded community organizations. “I invited community organizations that I thought might like to join, and slowly other groups asked to join the celebration,” she said.
Local organizations in attendance at the celebration included Harpswell Aging at Home, the Harpswell Garden Club, Harpswell Heritage Land Trust and Harpswell Invasive Plant Partnership.
In addition to information about their missions, the organizations offered children’s activities, such as a scavenger hunt and a cornhole game. Adding to the atmosphere of the beautiful summer day was live music by Matt Newberg and the Hearts of Gold.
The Community Garden provided refreshments for the celebration, many of which showcased fresh herbs from the organic garden. Visitors could cool down with a glass of sumac elderflower lemon balm-ade or snack on fresh chimichurri garlic bread.
After 10 years, the Community Garden has much to celebrate. Established in 2012 at George J. Mitchell Field, a former U.S. Navy fuel depot on Harpswell Neck that now serves as a town park, it has expanded from a few plots tended by master gardeners to 25 plots rented to individuals. Gardeners also tend the Common Good Garden, a communal plot that grows produce for donation in the community.
Mary Ruchinskas, a committee member and gardener, said that the Common Good Garden has grown from a humble beginning to provide more than 10,000 pounds of food in 10 years to Brunswick’s Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program and various recipients within Harpswell.
Looking toward the future, the Harpswell Community Garden hopes to continue its mission of bringing people together through a shared love of gardening and the outdoors.
Emily Swan is a junior at Barnard College, Columbia University, where she is majoring in political science. She graduated from Brunswick High School in 2020.