To the editor: Chester greenhouse project thanks supporters

Chester Community Greenhouse & Gardens is sincerely grateful to the Town of Chester Select Board for its Feb. 3, 2021 letter supporting our proposed community greenhouse project. What began as just an idea discussed by a few avid gardeners at the beginning of the pandemic, has taken root to become a full-fledged non-profit organization in possession of an historic 1936 greenhouse with plans for restoring and re-erecting it on a suitable location in the village.

The original greenhouse from Walpole, N.H.

This plan lets us look forward to the creation of a safe, accessible space where members of the community can grow vegetables, flowers and herbs, where master gardeners can explore the cultivation of heirloom varieties and seed saving, local students can learn about solutions for sustainable food production, renewable energy and climate change and residents and visitors alike will enjoy visiting another beautiful and walkable village destination.

The overwhelming support of this project by our community has been immensely gratifying. We would like to thank Rep. Tom Bock who addressed the project’s potential impact on the Town of Chester, saying, “This endeavor will undoubtedly contribute to the economic well-being and growth,” and Libby Weiland of the Vermont Community Garden Network who said, “This is a project I expect to serve as an example for other such groups and towns across the state of Vermont and the country.”

Given that a principal goal of the greenhouse project is the engagement of young students, we are especially pleased by the support of Chester-Andover Elementary School educator Frank Kelley who said, “I look forward to being part of the Chester Community Greenhouse and Gardens Project.” And of Dr. Andrew Malaby of Green Mountain Union High School who said, “I also support this effort as a resource for transferable skills, interdisciplinary and project-based education, and vertical integration of knowledge.”

Additional letters of support from the Okemo Valley Chamber of Commerce, Chester-Andover Family Center, Reverends Nicholas and Beverly Boke, author and educator Bill McKibben, Jackie Restmeyer, owner of the Moon Dog Café, and Dr. Joshua Farley, Fellow at UVM’s Gund Institute for the Environment further underscore the broad appeal of this project.

There are many in our community we also need to thank including those who have volunteered their time and labor, contributed ideas, and have committed to help bring this project to fruition. Finally, we would also like to thank the financial support of the Vermont Community Foundation, the Windham Foundation, and the many generous residents of Chester who, through their donations, have made it possible for this project to move ahead.

As we grow closer to making a final site selection, we continue to welcome suggestions from those in our community who may know of an ideal location for this wonderful project.

We look forward to the eventual ribbon cutting of Chester’s Community Greenhouse and Gardens. This historic greenhouse will provide yet another good reason for celebrating life in our beautiful town. We thank you all for your support.

Chester Community Greenhouse & Gardens

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