Celebrating the launch of the Island Community Garden

"Hey have you heard what's happenin' here today?

It's the Newport Community Garden...."

If you were passing by the Great Friends Meeting House last Friday, it would have been hard to miss a festive occasion unfolding. The grounds of the Meeting House is now home to Newport's first community garden thanks to a fabulous partnership of between Aquidneck Community Table, the MLK Center, the Newport Historical Society and a tireless team of community members.

Our students were honored to be invited to perform for the ribbon-cutting and launch ceremony. With violins in tow, our little group set off from the MLK Center. The journey was a brief one but the novelty of walking to the performance location wasn't lost on our excited mini-orchestra. MLK after-school teacher Miss Peggy even brought along an enthusiastic fan club of students from the after-school program to cheer on the young performers.

With the sunshine smiling down, the students opened with a rousing rendition of "Newport Community Garden" (sung to the tune of English Country Gardens) followed by several fiddle tunes. What a treat it was to play for such an attentive crowd of friends, families, teachers, community members and lots and lots of canine friends!

At the Newport String Project, our philosophy is that our youth programming is more than just violin lessons... We hope that our students learn that music gives us an opportunity to consider our place in the world and it is a powerful way to participate in making our community a vibrant and healthy place to be. As we practiced for the performance, we talked about the social justice ideas behind a community garden - healthy food, access, transforming public spaces -  and that through music we can celebrate projects like the community garden. It was a beautiful opportunity for the students to play a melodious role in launching what will no doubt be an incredible resource for Newport in the years to come!

Congratulations to Aquidneck Community Table and many thanks to Tara Gragg for these images!