Two Rotary Clubs join forces to create a community garden!

The Sturbridge Rotary Club has partnered with the Southbridge Rotary Club to create a local community garden.  Both Clubs subsequently formed the Rotary Community Corps of Sturbridge & Southbridge (RCC).  The RCC is an organization that encourages all volunteers, whether or not they are Rotarians, to work on projects in their local communities.  The RCC’s first project is the creation of the “Community Food Collaborative” (CFC) located in Sturbridge.

The Mission Statement of the Community Food Collaborative is to help foster a greater sense of community by involving neighbors, volunteer organizations, as well as mentoring local youth.  Throughout each growing season, nutritious organic vegetables will be grown and donated to the Saint John Paul II Food Pantry, which serves families in need in both Southbridge and Sturbridge.

One objective of Sturbridge Rotary has been to help feed the less fortunate and have been doing so for a number of years with an annual dedicated fundraiser for the Saint John Paul II Food Pantry.  Southbridge Rotary has held similar fundraisers.  Therefore, it was a logical transition for both Clubs to add another level of support for the Food Pantry.

After researching and visiting four available sites for the garden, the site chosen is on Maple Street behind the Sturbridge Town Hall.  The garden plot is owned by the Sturbridge Federated Church, that gave permission for the RCC to use it for this purpose.  Several years ago, it had been a garden for the members of the Church.  The garden already as a fence, raised beds, and a tool shed.  Rotarians cleared the weeds last fall and after further prep work, planting will begin this spring.

The RCC’s current partners for the garden project are the Rotary Clubs of Sturbridge and Southbridge, Joseph Coan Landscape Architecture, Sturbridge Federated Church Men’s Group and the St. John Paul II Food Pantry.  We’d love to have more partners help us with this project as well as many volunteers.  The RCC is a volunteer driven organization and needs your help.  We encourage local companies, organizations, schools, seniors, social groups and community volunteers to join in this effort.

Visit the Community Food Collaborative Facebook page at to learn more about the project, see photos as the project continues, and sign up to volunteer.  If you are not physically able to help in the garden, you can still help by donating funds and/or new or used garden tools.  With lots of volunteers, we’ll need lots of tools.  There’s also a form on the Facebook page for donations of funds or tools.

Let’s make the Community Food Collaborative a great community project focused on local hunger relief by growing fresh, organic vegetables.  Volunteers of all ages working together, getting to know each other, having fun and feeling good about what we’re doing to help, is what this project is all about.

If you would like to volunteer at the Community Food Collaborative garden, please join us for a kick-off celebration for volunteers followed by a tour of the garden site on Wednesday, April 11 from 4-6 pm at the Sturbridge Federated Church fellowship hall.

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