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New Community Gardens Planned for Flanders Area

The idea will be discussed at 7 p.m. at a meeting of the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association.

A community garden in Riverhead has been widely embraced.
A community garden in Riverhead has been widely embraced.
Plans to beautify and revitalize the Flanders and Riverside area continue to blossom.

At Monday night's meeting of the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association, a plan for two new community gardens proposed for Flanders will be discussed.

"The idea was proposed just a month or so ago," FRNCA president Vince Taldone said.

Taldone added that Southampton Town Councilwoman Christine Scalera is spearheading the project, along with Cornell Cooperative Extension. 

The town, said Scalera, is working on two potential community gardens with the cooperation of Cornell Cooperative Extension. The first involves facilitating a new garden at the Phillips Avenue Elementary School, she said.

"We met with the principal there who was very excited and trying to get Cornell and the superintendent of Riverhead schools together," Scalera said. The meeting is still to come, she added.

"The second is a project I'm very excited about and hope to get the Flanders area civics involved with," Scalera said; she added that the second garden is proposed for the David W. Crohan Community Center.

While plans are still being mapped out, Scalera said the hope is that vegetables will be grown, with a portion going to local food pantries.

Another idea is to integrate the community gardens into the town's parks, youth, and senior services programs, with an eye toward promoting intergenerational interaction, with the garden as a focal point, she said.

Scalera will speak about the new program at Monday's FRNCA meeting, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Crohan Center on Flanders Road. Also speaking will be Elizabeth Takakjian of Cornell Cooperative Extension.

"Personally, I love the idea of community gardens and support the initiative 100 percent," Taldone said. "From FRNCA’s perspective, we support the concept, provided sites have a consistent level of supervision to ensure proper maintenance and security."

The Phillips Avenue Elementary School site would meet FRNCA's requirements for a location with adequate supervision, he said.

"Other sites, including the Crohan Center, are under review but all will require community volunteers who are willing to take responsibility for each garden. I am optimistic that we will find both appropriate sites and volunteers to manage them," Taldone said.

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