Helfand Farm creates blossoming community of gardeners

Jun 13, 2023

The Helfand Farm Community Garden provides a home away from home for gardening enthusiasts. 

The farm and gardens take up about four acres on the land of Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust’s main offices, located at 318 Chase Road. 

Despite being on the trust’s land, they are a separate non-profit organization. 

The community garden has 145 plots and all of them are full, according to Benjamin Rapoza, president of Helfand Farm. He says there was an uptick in the popularity of gardening through the pandemic. 

“People wanted to get out of the house, and also just saw the health benefits of growing [their] own food,” said Rapoza.

The opportunity to get out and grow is appealing to many people in the community, and the gardens make it more accessible. 

Kelley Turner-Murray, a Dartmouth native, says she has been gardening her whole life. When she moved to New Bedford, she didn’t have the space to garden anymore, so she got a plot at the community garden about six years ago. 

“It gives me my farming fix,” Turner-Murray said. 

Turner-Murray spends about four hours at a time in her garden and tries to go multiple times a week.

The garden plots host everything from flowers, strawberries, kale and garlic. Turner-Murray said in the past she has been able to grow sweet corn on her plot. 

The farm part of Helfand Farm focuses on growing produce to donate to local soup kitchens. 

With the help of volunteers, the farm is able to grow hundreds of pounds of food for underserved communities. 

Their next volunteer day is August 13 from 10-1 at the farm. To sign up, email Marlene Holohan at loraxfan@comcast.net.

Anyone is welcome to rent a plot, and Rapoza expects that there will be openings for next year. To join the waiting list visit helfandgardens.com/sign-up.