Restoration Of The Afton Community Garden Planned For Spring
Published: February 28th, 2024
By: Kelli Miller

Restoration of the Afton community garden planned for spring The Afton community garden beds located behind the library at 105-A Main Street, are dilapidated and full of weeds- but one resident is preparing to restore the garden back to its full capacity. Afton middle and high school teacher Angelina Echevarria has her sights set on full restoration of the community garden and is asking for additional help from the community and school students. (Submitted photo)

AFTON — Spring is right around the corner and one Afton resident is motivated to transform the weed filled, dilapidated community garden beds, back to its former glory. The garden is located behind the library at 105- A Main Street.

Afton middle and high school teacher Angelina Echevarria has her sights set on a full restoration to the community garden and is asking for additional help from the community and school students.

“I'll be leading the clean up of the community garden, as it’s in dire need of weeding and repair,” said Echevarria. “We’ll need some donations of tools, material and time to work on the ten garden beds.

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She said about four of them are in immediate need of repair before they can be utilized.

Echevarria welcomes any additional ideas for a more effective way to get things done and said once the weather improves, she’ll set up a first meeting date on Afton Uncensored Facebook page, drop off location for donations of material, and a calendar for scheduling weeding, watering, and harvesting.

She said any volunteers will be helpful and appreciated.

“We need to come together and I want everyone to come together with a plan for material drop off and then set a plan for working together,” she said.

Echevarria said the community garden belongs to the village and in order to gain access, she addressed the village board.

“Typically, the board loans out on a per box basis but because the garden hasn’t been touched in a long time and is in disrepair; I asked for full access to all of the boxes,” she said. “So now, it can open up opportunities for the community and students to come together, also allowing students to earn community service hours as part of their senior requirements.”

Echevarria said she feels the definition of community is lacking in a lot of communities and believes one of the best ways to work around that is by bringing people out; the old and the young.

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“I think people need space to feel like they’re contributing to something and I think it’s really important to bring communities together in some way, and growing has always been my kind of therapy,” she said. “We can go in and learn to cultivate relationships with the earth, and I feel like in that process, we can learn to cultivate relationships with each other.”

“I know a lot of the elderly members of the community used to utilize those gardens, but now, as they’ve aged, it’s become harder for them to get up the hill, although there is one box that has easy access for most,” Echevarria added.

“I feel this also opens opportunity for the youth who feel they don’t have much investment in community and can get to know their neighbors and they’ll appreciate it for the things they contribute,” she added.

At harvest, she said she feels it’s important for volunteers to get first pick from the garden and she would also like to donate any excess produce to the local pantry.

She said the only barrier they have now is to remove some old trees that were planted in a few of the garden beds. She said the gentleman that planted them will show them which beds the trees are in and they’ll safely transplant them.

Echevarria has been gardening for years and said she had a full garden in her previous backyard in New Jersey before moving to Afton.

“My backyard was just beautiful,” she said.

“I still have a lot of landscaping to do to my own property, but I wanted to have a space that’s not just mine but everyone’s,” she added.

For more information or to volunteer, contact Echevarria at the Afton N.Y. Uncensored Facebook page.