Who doesn’t enjoy playing in the dirt? Everyone, both young and old, can have fun gardening while helping the ecosystem by planting native and chemical-free plants.
At the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island plant sale on May 7 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., local farmers and growers will be selling plants native to our area as well as chemical-free plants. Compost education and electronic waste recycling also will be offered. The event will take place at the Dwares Jewish Community Center, in Providence.
Native plants have evolved over the years to thrive in a particular ecosystem. They are hardier and require less care than non-native plants. They require less watering, are suited to local types of soil and can even prevent water run-off. The stems and leaves of native plants have adapted to survive local weather during all four seasons of the year. Native plants are low maintenance and improve air quality by not requiring mowing, and storing carbon.
Native plants also provide habitat for pollinators and other wildlife. These plants are necessary to feed birds and countless species of insects, including bees and butterflies. In turn, we rely on multiple species of native bees to pollinate our fruits and vegetables. In addition to bees, birds such as hummingbirds pollinate flowers with their long beaks.
Chemical-free plants also play an important role in a healthy, symbiotic environment. Not only are insecticide-laden plants poisonous to insects, including butterflies and bees, they also poison birds, such as hummingbirds. And they poison songbirds, which feed their offspring a diet of only insects. Insecticides can also poison pets and children, so planting chemical-free plants and seeds is good for the environment.
The event May 7 includes growers from Foggy Notion Farm, Sanctuary Herbs and Charlotte’s Farm selling plants. Representatives from Harvest Cycle and Bootstrap Compost will offer compost education. Bootstrap will also be selling vermicompost, or worm castings, which is a superior alternative to regular compost.
Fatema of the Providence Seed Library will be on hand to answer questions and share her bountiful knowledge regarding native plants. She will also hand out packets of open-pollinated, heirloom, culturally relevant and indigenous seeds. These seeds are also available at branches of the Community Libraries of Providence (provseedlib.com).
Seedlings started by farmer/gardener and Welcome Desk associate Kendra Doe will be for sale, and free packets of assorted vegetable seeds will be available.
Shoppers can enjoy a cup of fresh-brewed coffee from Longshore Coffee and live music provided by the Sunday Night Jammers.
Learn more about native plants and take an active role in repairing the environment – tikun olam – by bringing home a plant or two.
The plant sale and distribution of free seeds will take place in the Holocaust Memorial Courtyard behind the Dwares JCC, 401 Elmgrove Ave., Providence, weather permitting, and indoors in the Baxt Social Hall, in the event of rain. Indie Cycle will be offering e-waste recycling in the back parking lot.
For more information, please contact Lynne Bell at jewishallianceri.org or 401-421-4111.