Early last spring Sustainable Saugerties and its gardening educator Anna Berkheiser set up a community garden on property adjacent to Cantine Field donated by Niki Swarthout. The idea: that Saugerties residents who lived in apartments or who had no access to land, for a $30 fee could set up a garden of their choosing (vegetables or flowers) and grow their own.
To help make the garden a reality, the group received a Learn and Serve America Garden Materials grant that was to be used to purchase various gardening tools.
There were to be 21 gardening beds set up, with the hopes that each would be occupied by those with green thumbs and those who wanted to till the earth and learn about small sustainable gardening plots. In a June 7 cover story, the Saugerties Times reported that organizers had launched the first true Saugerties community garden. Smith Hardware was donating supplies, and there were plans for members of the Boys & Girls Club to learn about gardening.
But in the ensuing months, only about 10 beds have been planted, and a recent trip to the garden revealed much of it overgrown by weeds, with some vegetables rotting on the vine.
What happened to the hope of a thriving community garden? Unfortunately, attempts to contact garden organizers have proven fruitless; neither Berkheiser nor members of Sustainable Saugerties have returned telephone calls or emails.