An empty lot across the street from Worcester State University has been transformed into “A Garden for All Ages,” a project spearheaded by Urban Studies Professor Maureen Power, Ph.D., and the Intergenerational Urban Institute.
The garden, adjacent to Chandler Magnet Middle School, is being developed by an intergenerational team of Worcester State students, headed by Pamella Saffer. Currently it includes eight Chandler Magnet teachers and their students. The team is also reaching out to elder residents of Bet Shalom. In addition, Rocky’s Ace Hardware, a neighborhood partner, recently donated gardening tools, seeds, gloves, peat moss, lime, top soil, and garden signs to support the team’s first full gardening season.
By utilizing “square foot gardening,” a method that increases yield while helping students develop math skills, the garden team hopes to maximize the harvest from a finite amount of space and facilitate learning and growth among the generations. People of all ages learn the importance of urban agriculture, community building, outdoor learning, growth and regeneration cycles, proper diet, exercise, nutrition, and more.
According to Power, the garden is growing more than vegetables. She says, “It is growing relationships, connections to the soil, a sense of wonder, knowledge of nutrition and healthy eating, as well as lots of fun in the outdoors.”