By MEGHAN KAVANAUGH, Valley Breeze Staff Writer
SMITHFIELD – Getting people hooked on gardening can be tougher than the tilling itself.
Just ask the folks at Revive the Roots, the non-profit ecological group that currently acts as curators of the Mary Mowry House on Farnum Pike.
To start, there’s the physicality of the hobby, followed by a delayed gratification as plants slowly take root and begin to grow.
But, as the group’s public relations liaison Jon Del Sesto explains, once people get into harvesting their own produce or watching flowers they started from seedlings pop up through the earth, the enjoyment and commitment to the practice also begin to blossom.
Thus is the intent of the Revive the Roots community garden program, an initiative that has doubled in size in the four years since its inception of 10 raised beds and 10 plots of land.
Now, dozens of newcomers and seasoned seeders work alongside one another, one grows tomatoes while another tends to a flower bed.
The ultimate goal is to expose residents to permaculture, Del Sesto said, a design science that creates ecosystems.
“It’s regenerative instead of sustainable,” he said, with plants working together to eliminate the need for fertilizers. “You just have an ecosystem that takes care of itself.”
Revive the Roots has started growing an edible forest made of all edible ground covering, shrubs and trees. The ground covering is mostly strawberries, which are sold during the summer months to bring in funds to the farm.
Both standard and premium beds are available for community gardening.
Standard beds cost $25 per 5-by-10-foot plot; and premium beds cost $40 for a 4-by-12-foot plot, $50 for a 4-by-16-foot plot, and $100 for a 5-by-30-foot plot.
Gardeners can work at their leisure from sunrise to sunset on the property that is open to the public. Newcomers receive handbooks, and are encouraged to knock on the Mowry House door if they need help.
Del Sesto said it is important the community become invested in the town’s open space while it is still available.
“People don’t realize that in 10 to 20 years, Smithfield might look like Mineral Spring Avenue,” he said. “It happens quick.”
Del Sesto said community involvement is key to preserve the town’s natural spaces.
“As of right now, I think I would call us a hidden gem of Smithfield,” he said. “The people who know about Revive the Roots can’t stop coming back. It feels like their own little private Eden.”
Contact Revive the Roots at firstname.lastname@example.org or 401-305-0539, or visit www.revivetheroots.org for more information.