Category Archives: Community Groups

Announcing … the Seacoast Community Garden Network

Here’s a new idea:

  • What if wannabe gardeners could find an open community garden plot, or folks with an extra acre could find community gardeners to transform their land?
  • What if community gardens and gardeners could share their needs and solutions and learn from each other—even get to know each other?
  • What if start-up community gardens could find everything they needed—sample documents, supplies, information and real live people with experience—in one place?
  • What if we could build an interactive community that would support the growth and uniqueness of our community garden movement right here on the Seacoast?

This is the idea behind the Seacoast Community Garden Network—an open-to-all website that will be launching this spring, funded by the New England Grassroots Environment Foundation. Networks are popping up all over as people seek better ways to communicate with each other, but the Seacoast Community Garden is the first of its kind here. At a recent meeting, the ideas were coming fast and furious for how to build the Seacoast Community Garden Network (SCGN). It’s being designed now and should see the spring sunshine just in time for gardening season!

SCGN is still in the planning stages. If you’d like more information or want to become involved, please contact Jenny Isler to be put on the mailing list.

Sustainable Portsmouth

Sustainable Portsmouth Initiative is opening a “visioning dialog” to everyone who lives, works or plays (!) in Portsmouth and the Seacoast. The results of citizen input will be the basis for an economic, environmental and community sustainability plan to guide Portsmouth’s future. The City Council asked for this to be done, and here is your opportunity to be part of the solution!
There is a Community Conversation to start the dialog on Nov. 21. Anyone and everyone can register at There will be many more conversations based on what comes out of this first one.

Seacoast Sustainability Summit Nov. 7

On Saturday, November 7, 2009, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., the Seacoast Summit on Sustainability: Greening our Communities will be held at the Portsmouth Library, 175 Parrott Avenue, Portsmouth, NH.

The conference is being presented by Creating a Peaceful World by Sustaining our Future, a community group. All concerned citizens are invited to attend, become more informed about environmental issues of sustainability facing the seacoast community, learn how to take action, green our communities, and become prepared to sustain ourselves in the future, given the realities of climate change.

Dr. Tom Kelly, Director of Sustainability Programs at the University of New Hampshire, will be the opening speaker. Nine workshops will follow, in three tracks: Food, school nutrition, and sustainability, Town and state Activities and Planning, and Educating and Promoting Environmental Wisdom in Faith Communities. Panelists will include local sustainability leaders, in the towns of Barnstead, Dover, Durham, Epping, Exeter, Lee, Northwood, Barrington, Portsmouth, and Rochester.

The summit is sponsored by the Peace and Social Concerns Committee of the Dover Friends Meeting. Participating faith communities include: Interfaith Sustainability Team, Durham Community Church, Exeter Congregational Church, Dover Congregational Church, Durham Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Unitarian Universalist South Church, and the Exeter Unitarian Universalist Church. A vegetarian meal will be served; workshops will be 75 to 90 minutes each, and there will be a short wrap-up session at 4:15 p.m. This Seacoast Summit is free to all.

Dr. Phyllis Killam-Abell, one of the founders and the coordinator of Creating a Peaceful World by Sustaining Our Future says, “Working toward sustainability is essential to preserve and respect the earth’s resources. Climate change, water shortages, poverty and diminishing supplies of oil and other commodities demand sustainable policies on the part of government and the private sector.” She describes “sustainability” as “the use of a resource in such a manner that it is not depleted or permanently damaged.”

Sponsors include the Peace and Social Concerns Committee of the Dover Friends Meeting, The Interfaith Sustainability Team, the Green Sanctuary Committee of the Durham Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, the Seacoast African American Cultural Center (SAACC), Seacoast Peace Response, the Seacoast NAACP.

For additional information, please contact Dr. Killiam-Abell, 603-580-1934, or Ms. Heidi Porter, 207-384-0048. For four years Creating A Peaceful World by Sustaining our Future weekly has offered speakers, films, readings and discussion on sustainability issues on Wednesday evenings, 7:00 p.m., at Friends Meeting House, 141 Central Ave., Dover.

Help the Hungry with the Giving Gardens Network

If you’re a gardener, chances are you will have some extra produce this summer—or might even be willing to plant a little extra. Those efforts could go a long way to helping feed folks for whom food is scarce—and this year, there is even more need than usual. The recession means that more families are experiencing food shortages, and food banks and assistance agencies are finding their resources are also required to stretch further and further.

Though lots of people know how to grow fresh food and are willing to share, in the past, it’s been hard to figure out how to get that food to people who need it. Most of us thought that food pantries could not accept fresh food. As it turns out, that isn’t always true! Many pantries  do take fresh veggies and other perishable items. And thanks to a new initiative called the Giving Gardens Network, it’s easier than ever to find them.

A volunteer-driven cooperative campaign set up with the help of several partner organizations,  the Giving Gardens Network is described as “a network of home gardeners, farmers and organizations that are working to encourage and support the donation of fresh food, grown locally in New Hampshire, to food pantries and shelters. By planning to raise a little extra … by growing the foods that are most needed … and by donating to locations that can accept fresh foods…we can help reduce hunger in New Hampshire.”

Using the Giving Gardens Network website, you can plan, grow, and donate your food to any one of the Seacoast food pantries that accept fresh food. And you can also keep track of statewide efforts to help feed the hungry using food grown right here at home.

Now that’s helping your neighbor.