Newroz: Gordon’s Very Own Farmer’s Market

“Newroz” means “new day, new sun” in Kurdish—and that’s exactly what the revitalized Gordon Community Garden behind Barrington Center for the Arts promises to offer.

On Earth Day this year, Garden Director Saliha Grace Shelton ’20 led a handful of Gordon students in beginning to rehabilitate the once-flourishing community garden.

The garden was founded in 2008 as part of Gordon’s student-led Advocates for a Sustainable Future (ASF), but had fallen into disrepair. Now, as a result of Shelton’s vision and ASF’s five months of hard work, there is no longer a weed in sight. The garden is flourishing once again thanks to the expertise of Garden Consultant Alden Drake—a long-time North Shore resident and friend from the First Congregational Church of Hamilton—in addition to the help of a growing number of student and community volunteers.

Now that the patch is teeming not only with zinnias and sunflowers, but with cherry tomatoes, cabbages and summer squash, the Newroz Farmer’s Market is open for business to Gordon and the wider community.

Shelton’s intent is to connect others to the source of their food. That’s why she’s keeping prices friendly for a college-student budget. Visitors can fill up a shopping bag, provided by the market, for only five dollars. The farm stand, located at the garden, is open weekly this fall: Mondays at 6:30 p.m. and Thursdays at 11:30 a.m.

Dr. Dorothy Boorse (biology), faculty advisor to ASF (under which Newroz still operates), has been a key proponent of the garden from the outset. “I hope students gain a love of gardens, a sense of place, a sense of community doing work together, and joy,” she says.

Shelton, a psychology major, and Dr. Boorse share a vision for the garden that invites collaboration across academic disciplines, as well as between the Gordon College and North Shore communities. To help care for and sustain the garden, “any age, any experience level, any department has a place here. As long as they want to be involved, I have a project for them,” says Shelton.

Boorse hopes to see the garden integrated into academic curricula. She notes that Dr. Jennifer Noseworthy (biology) already plans to incorporate it into one of her spring courses spring.

The morning of their interview with The Bell, Shelton and Drake were raking woodchips from where cabbages were recently harvested, spreading compost from Drake’s home compost system and scattering rye-grass seeds, a rejuvenating cover-crop. With them was Corinne Carpenter, wife of new Nyland Resident Director Jeff Carpenter, and their young son Michael. She joined the Newroz team as a way to jump into community involvement.

“I love the beauty of seeds!” says Shelton, smiling and offering up a handful. “Out of nothing, something great happens.”

Looking to the future, Shelton hinted that a second garden would soon be approved for development on campus. The exact location has not yet been announced, but Shelton hopes it will be even more accessible to the Gordon community.

From a young age, Dr. Boorse said she was “clearly taught both at home and at school that caring for creation is a part of the job as Christians. Not only that, it is a part of loving your neighbor and caring for the poorest and most vulnerable among us,” she says. Dr. Boorse is optimistic the garden will contribute to Gordon’s sustainability efforts and educational outreach, and will send “a message to the community about hope for the future.”

By Grace Shaw ’19, philosophy
Pictured above: Saliha Grace Shelton, Corinne and Michael Carpenter, and Alden Drake take a moment during routine maintenance on a Friday morning.