Room to grow – Massport will add plots to the Bremen Street garden

Throughout the summer and fall the Bremen Street Park’s community garden is always blossoming with ripe tomatoes, vegetables, fresh herbs and flowers. All season long residents meticulously tend to their plots but chosen by a random lottery the plots are few and far between.

Until now.

This week Massport, who secures and maintains the park, announced it will break ground this month for 27 additional plots in the community garden located at the north end of Bremen Street Park. The new spaces will be ready for use in the spring.

The garden offers residents a place to grow their own flowers, vegetables, and plants. The existing 46 garden plots were allocated in 2007. Massport was not involved in the distribution of the plots and will not be involved in the allocation of the new plots. Currently there is a waiting list, and Bremen Street Park Community Garden coordinators will offer the first 27 individuals on the list with one of the new plots.

“The Community Garden is an extremely popular initiative,” said Anthony Guerriero, the East Boston liaison in Massport’s Office of Government and Community Affairs. “We are pleased to increase the useable space by more than 50 percent which will allow garden organizers to give more East Boston residents the opportunity to participate.”

Bremen Street Park was opened in 2007, and Massport took over park operations, maintenance and security from the Central Artery/Tunnel project. Bremen Street Park is part of the East Boston Greenway, which will ultimately extend 3.5 miles from Piers Park to Belle Isle Marsh Reservation at the Winthrop line. The park features playgrounds, a spray fountain, and a biking and walking path. It also includes benches and picnic tables, and a newly-refurbished bocce court and performance amphitheater.

“We are extremely excited about Massport’s decision to expand the Community Garden,” said Eugenia Corbo, coordinator for the Bremen Street Community Garden. “Since opening in July 2007, the garden has been such a success, that we had to implement a waiting list. This increased space will give many more East Boston residents the opportunity to grow their own veggies or beautiful flowers.”

President of the Friends of the East Boston Greenway Mary Ellen Welch said her group is pleased with Massport’s commitment to further bring the community together with an expanded garden.

City Councilor Sal LaMattina, who had a plot at the garden in the past, loves the idea of more garden space.

“East Boston is very urban and in some parts of the neighborhood residents do not have ample space for gardening,” said LaMattina. “This community garden has been an oasis for people who would otherwise not be able to grow fresh vegetables, herbs and flowers and participate in the stress reliving activity of gardening.”

Senator Anthony Petruccelli points to recent studies that showed people in urban areas with not a lot of green space suffer from higher levels of stress and depression.

“We have been able to add a lot of green space back to East Boston–a place that was once at the bottom of Boston’s list of green areas,” said Petruccelli. “The garden has become a neighborhood attraction and each year it gets more and more beautiful.”

Representative Carlo Basile, whose mother Teresa grows her own tomatoes and jars them each summer, said urban gardening has long been a local tradition.

“I encourage anyone who wants to be put on the wait list for a plot to do so because community gardens add beauty and a sense of community to the neighborhood,” said Basile. “I remember growing up in Eagle Hill and friends, families and neighbors would all help one another with the growing of their fresh vegetables and herbs.”

For information about the Bremen Street Park Community Garden and plot allocation, you can email the garden coordinators at [email protected] or call the Boston Natural Areas Network (BNAN) at 617-542-7696.

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