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St. Lawrence County community gardens starting to feed the hungry

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GOUVERNEUR — Community gardens to feed the hungry are sprouting throughout St. Lawrence County.

The Gouverneur Neighborhood Center is in the planning stages of starting a garden.

“The food we produce would go to our pantry,” Director Peggy J. Cronk said. “Our clients could help grow the food.”

Mrs. Cronk said she got the idea from neighborhood centers in Massena and Ogdensburg that are also involved in gardening.

The Massena Neighborhood Center has had a garden for several years, including fruit trees, that has been cared for by Alcoa employees and other volunteers.

The Ogdensburg Neighborhood Center partnered with the garden club of the Boys andGirls Club, which planted and harvested a plot near Fort de la Presentation.

“We did it for the kids to get out and for them to learn working as a team,” said Patti M. Conger, director of the neighborhood center. “We will be doing it again.”

Most of the fresh vegetables distributed by the neighborhood center are local, and often are brought in as surplus by gardeners and farmers or from state correctional facilities, Mrs. Conger said.

“We did not go without fresh produce this year,” she said.

Mrs. Cronk has approached the village for a gardening spot to help feed the 80 to 100 households that use the Gouverneur Neighborhood Center pantry.

The village Board of Trustees is considering either a location at Harry L. Mills Memorial Park or a spot near the sewage treatment facility, Trustee Charles W. Newvine said. Teachers at East Side Elementary School also are trying to start a garden, Mrs. Cronk said.

She is looking for help from people known for their green thumbs.

“I’m dependent on people in the community who are gardeners,” she said. “I’m not a gardener.”

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