$500: Bob Halstead (El Salvador, 1977-1979)
The mission of the organization is to preserve open space in Bridgeport for the purpose of land conservation, environmental protection and community gardening for the benefit of its residents with a focus on its children.
Through the application of grant funding from various private and public resources, the mission of the Bridgeport Community Land Trust is to acquire property in order to preserve or otherwise clean up and apply the appropriate plantings to enable the Bridgeport population to enjoy open space and access to the waterfront. The program supplies waterlines, fencing, and wood for raised beds, plants, tools, topsoil, tool sheds and mulch among other things. It also provides mentoring for young people who are learning about gardening, supplies technical assistance for designing gardens and for growing vegetables.
The Land Trust was formed in the Spring of 2006 in reaction to the city’s intentions to sell all of the gardens that were located on city-owned property. The results of this would have been devastating. In a welling up of public sentiment well documented in the press, an organization sprung up to oppose the sale and they achieved a great victory as they convinced the City Council to rescind the administration’s plans.
The organization’s development was nurtured by last year’s Connecticut Community Gardening Associations Annual Conference that was held at Bridgeport’s Beardsley Zoo. Close to 200 people participated and it inspired more involvement and increased awareness of the benefits of community gardening. In addition, committees have been doing workdays at separate community gardens in order to spruce up the common areas of community gardens. The community realized that simple cosmetic curbside appeal had to be added to the gardens. This has largely been accomplished with great pride.