DPNC and Coogan Farm welcomed spring on March 2o with the annual Giving Garden blessing, but this year’s event surprised retiring Farm Manager Craig Floyd. The staff and trustees of DPNC announced a well-kept secret: an endowment fund for the garden in honor of Floyd and a new name, the Craig Floyd Giving Garden. The event was attended by more than 70 supporters, including local representatives Danielle Chesebrough and Greg Howard.
In the nearly ten years since the founding of the Giving Garden, DPNC has donated more than 100,000 pounds of produce to the food insecure of New London County through the Gemma Moran Center.
Executive Director Davnet Conway said of Floyd in her remarks, “Craig came to DPNC with a unique vision, to heal the earth while healing humans: physically through food – mentally through peaceful interactions with the soil – and spiritually through compassionate work.”
Floyd believed that the Giving Garden could grow more than 20,000 pounds of produce in one year with regenerative gardening techniques, and he set a target goal of 20,022 pounds to represent 2022, his final year as Garden Manager. He and his dedicated team exceeded that goal by several thousand pounds, and Floyd retired from the Giving Garden at the end of the 2022 season.
Board Chair Karen Stone announced the news of the endowment to the gathered supporters at Monday’s event. “Since the acquisition of Coogan Farm, the work of the Giving Garden has become an integral part of our mission,” she said. “Now, almost 10 years later, we are pleased to announce the establishment of the Giving Garden Endowment Fund, and to share with you that the endowment total has exceeded our initial goal and now stands at more than $65,000.”
The Giving Garden Endowment Fund was established by 26 donors, from individuals to local businesses and foundations, and Stone urged others to join them in support of the fund. “While we will still need to conduct the annual Garden Appeal for operations and will continue to seek grant money for larger purchases and upkeep, this substantial endowment will go a long way toward ensuring that the annual financial needs of the Giving Garden are met,” said Stone.
Following the announcements, and the introduction of Koralee Lawrence as the new Garden Manager, Rebecca and Jay Levy and their son, Cacique, from the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe performed a blessing on the land for the 2023 season.
A short video highlighting the event is here.
Members of the community wishing to contribute to the Craig Floyd Giving Garden may do so here.