Eight win Ellen Lea Paine memorial nature grants

Creative Kitchen Garden received an Ellen Lea Paine Memorial Nature Fund grant to expand their educational edible garden. Mary Godnick, pictured here, shows her bounty from the Creative Kitchen Garden. (Provided photo)

KEENE — Mary Godnick of Creative Kitchen Garden was one of eight recipients of a grant from the Ellen Lea Paine Memorial Nature Fund.

Named for one of the Adirondack Garden Club’s most outstanding members, the fund was established in 2005 to give financial assistance to individuals and not-for-profit organizations involved in programs whose purpose is to study, protect and enjoy the natural environment within the Adirondack Park.

The Creative Kitchen

Mrs. Paine, who passed away in 2005, was an avid gardener who took great pride in the gardens of her family properties, according to a press release.

“The Creative Kitchen Garden is a space at Dacy Meadow Farm, which is a cooperative farm in Westport,” Godnick said.

“It’s a space where we offer gardening tours, workshops and mostly u-picks. So, we have one night a week where we have community u-pick nights where we people can come and pick veggies, herbs, flowers. They pay a flat rate for that.

“So really, the space is focused on not necessarily large-scale vegetable production but more about having many people reconnect with plants and nature and learn more about where their food comes from and how to access healthy, local, seasonal food and just kind of experience being on a farm and in a garden.”

Second year

Godnick has grown diversified veggies, flowers and herbs there for several years.

“Last year was the first year we opened up the garden for tours and u-picks,” she said.

“This is our second year doing more of these kind of public-facing events. The grant is to help expand the garden specifically with construction and purchase of perennial plants, I’m really interested in environmental conservation, and there’s a lot of wild flowers that are really important to pollinators and birds.”

Less water use

Godnick wants to introduce fruit plants such as raspberries and blueberries to the space.

“Things like that use much less water,” she said.

“They require less applications of things like even natural organic pesticides. They require less use of those. It’s more long term. They offer more for what you put into them, and they are also beneficial for wildlife and pollinators.”

That garden expansion will allow more families to come and do things like pick fruit and learn about native wildflowers.

“Education a really big component of it,” Godnick said.

“We have a very big diversity of plants. We probably have hundreds of different plants and veggies and things like that. There are always a couple of things that even experienced gardeners don’t know what they are and can learn about a little bit more. Having the wildflowers and native plants and perennial plants there will help raise awareness of their importance, too.”


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