Backyard Growers will build new gardens at GHS


SAM GROLEAU, Staff Writer

This month, Backyard Growers hosted one of their most successful fundraisers to date- The Great Gloucester Grow Down. 

It was held at the Short & Main restaurant, where 125 supporters showed to donate a whopping  $35,000.

“There were many generous donors who gave to our Fund a Need auctions,” said Lara Lepionka, Founder and Executive Director of Backyard Growers, “The fundraiser is annual, and is always one of Backyard Growers’ most impactful nights.”

But Lepionka argues that fundraising was not the sole purpose of the evening. 

“The main goal of this event is to raise a certain amount of money each year, but it’s also an opportunity for us to highlight all the incredible work that we have done in the past year. It’s our opportunity to highlight our volunteers who are so important for the success of our programs.” said Lepionka.

The Backyard Growers fund and organize projects across the city and at school buildings.  

“[The money] goes back into funding all of our programs,” said Lepionka. “We have our district wide school gardens. We have gardens at Gloucester Pre-K, at Pathways, at all the elementary schools, at the middle school, and a new garden at the high school.”

GHS students will see the impact of the GrowDown fundraiser in the form of a new garden. 

“We are putting in a perennial vegetable garden. The vegetables will come back year after year,” said Lepinka, “[there will be a] plum tree, an apple tree, asparagus, Jerusalem artichoke, strawberries, and other things like that.”

With the help of staff and students, these new gardens will become curricular resources for the high school.

Lepionkia explained: “We have been working with Ecology teachers, like Rachel Rex. We are also working with Karen Hurst in the Health Center to have students come out to the garden to work on it. It will become a resource for the entire school community for all different classes to use in all different kinds of ways.”

Providing these resources is a crucial part of the Backyard Growers mission. 

“Part of what we talk about at Backyard Growers is how we are raising a generation of kids who have had the experience of growing food at school and at the gardens,” said Lepionka.

Backyard Growers is looking for volunteers! Email [email protected] to volunteer and earn NHS hours.