Back to the Garden: The Camera’s Eye and VINES

With all the things to love about summer in the Southern Tier, one of my favorites has to be gardening. I have 13 (!) of my own garden plots at home and, despite a constant war with slugs, deer, and other foes, I love cultivating my own vegetables and flowers! That’s why I was so excited to learn more about VINES, a community gardening and education group in the city of Binghamton. My social media manager has a VINES garden plot, and invited me to a Saturday morning “work party” so I could learn more.

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The work party was at the Corbett Avenue garden in Binghamton’s south side, a site that’s been going strong for five years now. Members sign up to rent a plot for the season at a garden location of their choosing. The raised beds are already built and the soil is already cultivated – all that’s left to do is start growing!

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Dick Andrus, a professor at Binghamton University, manages the site. He gave me the grand tour before the everyone arrived, starting with a spot of particular pride – the newly developed compost pile.

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As I chatted with members and wandered between the beds to snap photos, it was clear that the name “VINES” was more than appropriate. There were vines EVERYWHERE!

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Yes, some of them were weeds, which the garden members were taking to task….

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…but many hinted at deliciousness yet to come!

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Even though the program is well established – and obviously popular…look at the turnout at 9 am on a Saturday to pull weeds! – it was a nice reminder that improvement, growth, and change is always possible. The group added a long-awaited official VINES sign to the front gate while I was there.

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VINES does a lot more than just provide gardening space for its members. At their Urban Farm, volunteers grow food that goes out to farm share subscribers. It’s also available for sale at the weekly Binghamton farmer’s market (9-2 on Fridays in downtown Binghamton).

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In addition, VINES hosts numerous events and workshops that anyone in the community can attend for free. Upcoming events include “Season Extension on a Budget” on August 16th, “Freezing Vegetables” on August 20th, and a “Lemonade in the Garden” social event at Corbett Avenue on August 27th.

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A big thank you to VINES for all the work they do for the community, and for letting The Camera’s Eye shoot some wonderful summer images!

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