Mystic, CT (November 23, 2022) —The Nature Center’s Giving Garden at Coogan Farm set its most ambitious goal yet this year—to grow 20,022 pounds of fresh and nutritious produce to benefit the food insecure across New London County.
After the final harvest of the season on Tuesday, November 22, Farm Manager Craig Floyd announced to a gathered team of staff and volunteers that the garden has yielded well over the initial goal of 20,022, hitting 29, 328 pounds donated produce, according to the records kept by United Way’s Gemma Moran Center.
“As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, we are so grateful for our volunteers and supporters who have enabled us to serve the community with compassion through our Giving Garden. Acts such as these give us hope that we can have a positive impact on the earth,” says Executive Director Davnet Conway.
Farm Manager Craig Floyd will now retire as Farm Manager, but has an impressive tenure to reflect on at the Giving Garden. In 2014, the first year, the Giving Garden produced just over one ton of food. In 2021, the Garden produced more than 15,000 pounds of food, all donated to the Gemma E. Moran Center, which distributes food to 63 programs that serve 91 feeding sites across New London County. The total pounds of produce donated since 2014 by the Giving Garden exceeded 100,000 pounds earlier this season, with a conservative retail value of more than $250,000. Floyd attributes the Giving Garden’s tremendous output and exceptional nutrient content to sustainable, climate-smart techniques of regenerative gardening, including soil analysis, regular feeding and enrichment, companion planting, no tilling and diverse crop plantings.
Through the Nature Center and sponsored by ECCGA (Eastern Connecticut Community Garden Association) with help from regional libraries, Farmer Craig teaches free monthly online classes on the topic of regenerative gardening. To register for any of the monthly classes, go to dpnc.org/gardenprograms. Floyd also offers private garden consults, a popular holiday gift, through the Nature Center.
His successor, Koralee Lawrence, currently the Assistant Farm Manager, will assume responsibility for the Giving Garden at the beginning of the 2023 planting season. The 2023 Giving Garden Blessing, the annual symbolic start to the growing season, is scheduled for March 20, 2023.