With the acquisition of the Coogan Farm, the Nature Center envisioned the public benefiting from the property in many ways. One of the primary goals was to celebrate the region’s agricultural history and improve the quality of life in eastern Connecticut as a whole. To that end, the Garden was created to educate people about the important connection between the health of our planet and our own health.
The Giving Garden was formed as a cooperative three year partnership between DPNC, The Robert G. Youngs Family Foundation, and the United Way. After the initial terms of the partnership ended, and recognizing the importance of the project, DPNC fully incorporated the Giving Garden into its operational budget in 2017, and created a full-time position for the Giving Garden Manager to ensure its ongoing success.
The largest team of volunteers at the Nature Center perform all necessary garden growing and maintenance tasks over nine months of the year. The Garden utilizes regenerative farming practices, and serves as a model garden to teach the most modern science combined with centuries old techniques that heal rather than deplete the earth. Through these practices, it provides nutrient rich produce with minimal disturbance of the soil.
In addition to the main vegetable and fruit production area, an herb garden, spice garden, mushroom garden, nine honey bee hives, annual and perennial flowers, and a robust composting and work area are interspersed among walking trails. A natural amphitheater and gathering space also serves as an outdoor classroom between the growing garden area and the herb garden.