A community cleanup will be hosted for the Eastpointe Community Garden between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, April 24.

A community cleanup will be hosted for the Eastpointe Community Garden between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, April 24.

Photo provided by Peggy DiMercurio


Eastpointe Community Garden looking for volunteers for annual cleanup

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published April 8, 2021

 The Eastpointe Community Garden provides vegetables for local senior citizens and food banks, space for community members to grow their own vegetables, and a public area for enjoyment.

The Eastpointe Community Garden provides vegetables for local senior citizens and food banks, space for community members to grow their own vegetables, and a public area for enjoyment.

Photo provided by Peggy DiMercurio

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EASTPOINTE — Urban Seed will be hosting a cleanup of the Eastpointe Community Garden to help prepare it for use this summer.

Urban Seed, the organization that oversees the garden, hosts such a cleanup each year so that it remains a beautiful public space available for use by the whole town.

“The garden cleanup will be on April 24. It is open hours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.,” said cleanup coordinator Peggy DiMercurio. “People can come for as little or as much as they want to. Every little bit helps.”

Cleanups are important for several reasons.

“There are a few reasons,” board member Bill Randazzo said in an email. “One: To clean up any garbage that has blown there from the winter and early spring. Two: There are many things to do besides clean. There is also getting the garden beds ready for (the) late spring crop and summer crop. There is weeding and preparing the garden beds by adding compost and other organic fertilizers. Three: There is mulching and covering large areas with wood chips to help with weed suppression. This cuts down on later work. It’s also to bring out all the stuff we store for the winter to make the garden more colorful.”

Once cleaned up, the garden will be available for use by any Eastpointe resident. Urban Seed Members stressed how important a resource it can be for a community such as Eastpointe.

“We are a 500-feet (long), 80-feet wide property, and we have a large area that we plant in raised beds,” DiMercurio said. “Fifty percent of the garden is grown and donated to senior residents and food banks and anyone in the community who wants some fresh vegetables and herbs. We have to keep up with weeding, watering, cleaning. We’ve had a lot of debris blow in off of Gratiot. We have about 20 backyards worth of cleanup. This way, we can officially open for May 15 when we open for our 10th season. We also rent raised beds so members of the community can plant their own produce they can keep for themselves and their family.”

“It’s an important resource for Eastpointe because we help provide fresh food to local groups in need,” added Randazzo. “We introduce neighbors to new varieties of vegetables you can’t get at the store. It helps bring the community together with a shared goal of helping others. We help maintain an open lot that would normally just be a wild lot. It gives people a spot to come and eat lunch or read or just those looking for a semi-quiet area to enjoy their day.”

There will be a variety of efforts the volunteers can work on.

“We will be breaking up into teams so people can do what they want to do and maintain (social distancing),” DiMercurio said. “We’ll be moving wood chips and soil, pulling weeds, painting furniture and pots, clearing new planting areas. We’ll be trimming back dead plants and setting up our fairy garden, which is a whimsical little area we have for decoration.”

Health and safety measures will be in place during the cleanup. Additional efforts will continue throughout the summer and fall to ensure the garden remains in working order for the growing season.

“We do a cleanup every year. We do weekly work parties once everything is planted, and we are always looking for volunteers,” DiMercurio said. “Many of us wear masks even outside. Our boxes make it easy to stay 6 feet apart, so we can spread out. It’s a large garden, so there’s a lot of places to stay separated. We were able to still enjoy the garden last year because people took those precautions.”

The garden is funded by donations or the fees coming from people who rent beds in the garden. The donations pay for materials such as seeds, mulch and soil. Those who wish to sign up or find more information can contact DiMercurio by emailing peggy@urbanseed.info.

“We could really use the help this year because we are trying to beat our best season of growing,” Randazzo wrote. “We want to try to grow as much food as possible to feed as many as we can. Help us help others that are in need. Help us beautify a small area of the city to bring joy and happiness to others.”

He went on to say that the garden is something important to him and something that can be important for Eastpointe.

“I can’t honestly speak for others, but for me, it gives me pride. It helps me be creative by building different styles of beds and watering systems. It gives me an outlet for extra energies and anxiety I might have. It helps me help others. I have many ideas, and it gives me an outlet for them,” Randazzo wrote. “I started gardening about 14 years ago and fell in love with it. I have extra energy, and I wanted to put it towards something constructive, so I decided to help a community garden. I’d love it if we could put a community garden every few blocks so we could take care of that few blocks of people. Show people how to food prep, can, grow and create. We need to take back gardening and growing for ourselves.”

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