Community members work in the Community Growth Project gardens in Camillus last year. This spring and summer, the Cafe @ 407 in Liverpool will also have a plot in the garden.
continued In order to further those efforts, the café is teaming up with the Community Growth Project, a community gardening effort in Camillus where local families have been tending to their own plots behind Christ Community Church on Warners Road.
“I moved here two years ago and started attending Christ Community, and I noticed there was a lot of land,” said Katie Holland. “It just seemed wasteful to me to have it all and not have it be used, so I kind of came up with the idea of making it useful to anyone who can’t grow their own food.”
With the help of fellow church member Jen Magnuson, Holland started the Community Growth Project last year. The program offered 12 by 12 plots to anyone interested in growing produce on the communal land. Holland said about 10 families signed up. This year, even more people are interested — including Ophelia’s Place and the Café @ 407.
“I visited the café, and I just fell in love with it, with what they do,” Holland said. “I could tell their food was fresh, and I inquired about where they were getting their food. I asked if this would be helpful and if they wanted to partner with us, and they said it was perfect timing, because they were looking to be more responsible with what comes out of their café. It’s a win-win.”
“We are grateful to become a part of their project, where we will be able to reap the harvest of their hard-working community, as well as work alongside them in this,” Hamon said. “We look forward to receiving and providing the benefits of healthy food to our supporting customers.”
Café workers will have their first official meeting with the Community Growth Project team on Tuesday, May 1 to discuss their role in the community gardening project.
In the meantime, Hamon is encouraging members of the community to get involved. Just stop by the café for more information about volunteering in the garden or in the café. Holland said the project is always looking for donations and volunteers; this year, in particular, the program is in need of a new and more permanent fencing system to keep out deer and other animals.
“This is a really important program,” Holland said. “If we know where our food comes from, we appreciate it more. We eat healthier. And growing together brings people together, too.”