An Idea Blooms into RealityThe New Main Street Garden Project

The idea for a green space at Colby-Sawyer goes back many years, according to Leon Malan, professor for the School of Arts & Sciences. Many students had expressed interest in growing crops, and this idea, planted as a small seed long ago, has resulted in the most recent gardening project at CSC – the college’s new Main Street Garden.

Located beside the President’s House, the Main Street Garden serves to combat food insecurity in local communities, a need that has increased due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The original plan included three phases that would roll out over several years, but development ramped up in response to growing needs. This summer held plans for a four-row system, which already expanded to 15 rows prepped with 200 potato and 100 butternut squash plants. Planting in the summer ensures crops will be ready for the fall and winter months when food insecurity hits hardest.

Malan works at the forefront of this project in collaboration with Director of Sustainability and Innovation Jennifer White, as well as FEED Kearsarge, Spring Ledge Farm, Sweet Beet Farm and a handful of Colby-Sawyer student interns.

One intern, environmental science major Cassie Lashier ’21, can often be found in both the Permaculture and Main Street Garden. She says, “One of my favorite aspects of working with the on-campus gardens is delivering the fresh produce to community members, knowing that good food is reaching good people.”

Working in the gardens, Lashier follows the entire cultivation process from start to finish: prepping the soil to ensure proper growth, planting new crops and maintaining them by weeding and feeding the soil and reducing pests, then harvesting and distributing crops to the community. Leon, Cassie and other student interns deliver produce from the Permaculture Garden for Free Veggie Fridays, and to the Kearsarge Lake Sunapee Community Food Pantry located in the First Baptist Church beside the college.

“We are all dedicated to making this project a long term and integral part of Colby-Sawyer,” says another student intern, environmental science and studio art double major Abigail Castriotta ’21.

Initiated in a time of greatest need, the Main Street Garden serves as the foundation for community wellness and nourishment that will flourish and thrive for years to come.