Science and Mother Nature Join Forces in New Bedford

By Pamela Marean
Standard-Times Correspondent

NEW BEDFORD — Gardeners in New Bedford are bringing the brilliance of science and Mother Earth together by planting vegetation that will naturally detoxify the soil in a downtown patch of property.
This summer, blacktop will be taken up and greenery will be put down in Wings Court to create an urban oasis in what is now primarily a concrete jungle.
“We want to show in a small and accessible place the many ways to manage a landscape so it detoxifies, provides food, captures water and even acts as infrastructure while serving as a delightful setting,” said Carol Steinfeld from Sustainable SouthCoast.
The kick-off event for the eco-garden project is on Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. People will be invited to help plan the new garden and also to take part in a number of related festivities, including buying and trading plants; building raised-bed gardens to take home; free compost; free bicycle-cab rides; picnicking; live music; and a promised-to-be-fun film projected on a Wings Court wall outdoors called “The Real Dirt on Farmer John.”
Because of its centralized location, historic flavor, and distinction as the largest green space in downtown New Bedford, Ms. Steinfeld said Wings Court is a great place to start transforming the city into a place that is more environmentally friendly.
With that in mind, the Environmental Protection Agency awarded the newly formed New Bedford Green/Verde group $4,800 to revise the urban space with a “working landscape that demonstrates how plants and smart design can detoxify soil and water, prevent stormwater runoff, help cool the city in summer months, and help clean the air and water,” Ms. Steinfeld said.
Elegant wrought-iron gates open onto the 6,800-square-foot city-own property, which runs in an “L” shape with one entrance on Purchase Street and another on Union Street. The mostly barren landscape, punctuated by a few benches, bends around behind the building that holds the Green Bean Café.
Artists are being asked to create special bike racks for the space. Local landscape designer Mary Rapoza is helping with the project, which was the brainchild of Ms. Hayes, Ms. Steinfeld, and Bristol Building owner Mark Truran.
The lot will continue to host its regular farmer’s market.
Sustainable SouthCoast and New Bedford Green/Verde collaboration is seeking volunteers for its eco-garden project. Contact the gardening group by writing, or, or by calling (978) 760-0034.
June 05, 2008 6:00 AM
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