April 22 (Earth Day), 2014—Spring may have played hide-and-seek this year, yet the community gardeners at Countway Library recently spent a sunny, windy afternoon at the Countway Community Garden prepping the soil and planting the year’s first seeds and seedlings. (Scroll down for a slideshow.)
The garden, one of three community gardens at Harvard, evolved from conversations in Countway’s “Salad Club”—a group of library staff members who share salad ingredients. Lunchtime conversations inspired library staff to write a formal proposal to grow their own food, and to seek out partnerships with colleagues at the Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health and the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.
In addition to vegetables, the garden produces flowers and medicinal herbs, about which they create educational podcasts, all of which are shared with the Longwood community. This year’s crops will include lettuce, strawberries, beans (tendergreen and Kentucky wonder), tomatoes (cherry and sun gold), cucumbers (national pickling and muncher), peas (snow and sugar snap) and carrots (danvers, chantenay, laguna and rainbow).
“What I love about this program is the sense of community it’s brought,” explained Heather Cristiano, an archivist and records manager at the Countway Library. “What brings us all together is a desire to be outside in the sunshine, work in the dirt, grow things—and then eat them! It makes our professional worlds a lot smaller in a really unique way.”