Community partners host groundbreaking for Spring Street Gardens initiative

AU_Community-garden_3-1100x680.jpgNashua Mayor Jim Donchess speaks during a Thursday ceremony announcing the Nashua Spring Street Gardens initiative, while Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter Executive Director Michael Reinke looks on.

A community partnership designed to help feed those in need planted roots Thursday morning with a groundbreaking ceremony for the Nashua Spring Street Gardens initiative.

“Nashua is a growing community, and we don’t just grow people and businesses, we also grow food,”Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter Executive Director Michael Reinke said.

Through this partnership with NSKS, Citizens Bank, Grow Nashua and Southern New Hampshire Health, organizers will install 60 garden beds in the open area on Spring Street across from the post office. Officials will replenish the shelter’s food pantry with food grown in the gardens, while others in need of food will also be able to participate.

“This project is about how we can get people who are hungry in Nashua more access, better access, to healthy grown food,” Reinke said. “It’s about community partners coming together.”

Mayor Jim Donchess said this is a group effort involving many partners working to accomplish something good.

“This site has been here for several decades and has just been a nice open site. Now, we’re using it for community purpose and it’s just going to be great to grow food and help some families,” Donchess said of the area across the street from the post office.

Joseph Carelli, president of Citizens Bank for New Hampshire and Vermont, said his company understands the importance of food security. He said last year, bank officials invested $1.3 million to generate almost 4 million meals throughout their area of service.

“In New Hampshire, the state of so many riches, 9 percent of the population suffers from food insecurity. Eleven percent of our children have similar food insecurity issues, and we realize that’s an area we really need to invest in,” Carelli said. “We also realize that when people are hungry, it’s really difficult to hold down a sustainable job, and it’s equally as difficulty for kids to do well in school.”

Justin Munroe, CEO of Grow Nashua, said there are 10 beds already filled just through word of mouth. Revive Recovery is another partner who will have a bed to grow food for their program participants.

Dave McConville, who designed the garden, said it will be up to each family to decide what sort of produce they’d like to grow in their garden bed. He said the garden beds use a composting process called hügelkultur. According to, this is the practice of “composting large woody material, such as tree logs, to create a raised garden bed.”

McConville said as soon as the beds are full of decaying wood debris and other compostable materials, people can get started, with the hope of planting seeds this weekend.

“Just seeing everyone connect on a project that’s going to have such an impact is really gratifying, something the business community can and should be proud to be a part of,” Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tracy Hatch said.

“This place is shaping up to be something incredible,” Munroe added.

Posted: 6/1/2018 by Adam Urquhart, The Telegraph