With the growing season drawing to a close, the Southside Community Gardens (SCG) project has scheduled end-of-the-season work parties at two of our community gardens in Southside Bethlehem. On Saturday, October 2, from 9-11 a.m., there will be a work party at Ullman Park, which is located at the intersection of Sassafras Street and 378 as 378 begins the climb up South Mountain toward Center Valley. Then, on Sunday, October 3, from 2-4 p.m., there will be a work party at the Maze Garden, which is located at the intersection of 3rd and New Streets on Bethlehem’s Southside. These work parties will be an opportunity to straighten the gardens and to put them to rest for the season. Tidying the gardens now will also be a great way to begin preparing the beds for next year, while enabling group members, gardeners, and interested volunteers to come together and begin planning for the spring of 2011.

It is no surprise that our first year included a mixture of successes and failures. Coming together to mark the close of the season will serve as a way to share our experiences, learn from what we did wrong as well as what we did right, and discuss what we can do better in the future. With the beds in place and certain problems addressed, we want to be sure and build on SCG’s first year, ensuring that these gardens are a part of the fabric of the Southside community for years to come. Working together to straighten the gardens should be a very productive and energizing way to close the season.

Volunteers are welcome and eagerly invited, as we hope to begin the process of building interest and momentum for 2011. Feel free to stop by at any point during either work day to join us in working to establish a network of community gardens in Southside Bethlehem. These work parties will be a great opportunity to learn more about our project and become involved as we start thinking about next year. If you have tools or extra work gloves, please bring them, as we will surely find a good use for them.

To learn more, ask questions, or get directions, contact us at <southsidecommunitygardens@gmail.com>.

Since these work days fall on the same weekend as October’s First Friday, we will not be able to put the same time and energy into organizing our monthly potluck at the Maze Garden. DJ Arm 18, however, has kindly offered to take charge of this month’s activities; he will again be spinning records in the garden, beginning at approximately 6 p.m. on Friday, October 1. If you are out and enjoying the First Friday festivities on the Southside on what will hopefully be a beautiful autumn evening, we hope you have time to stop by the Maze Garden. And don’t hesitate if you would like to bring a dish or beverage to share; even though the SCG project won’t be able to organize a formal potluck, nothing would speak more clearly to our growing presence on the Southside this year than if the community came together to share food, listen to music, and visit in a more informal, spontaneous, and, dare I say, organic way.

We hope to see you soon!


With the Fall semester underway, there promises to again be a number of on-campus activites of interest to the community gardening and sustainability communities in the Lehigh Valley. Things get started next week, when the Friends of the Lehigh Libraries and the South Side Initiative are cosponsoring a talk that is relevant to members and friends of the Southside Community Gardens (SCG) project, as well as Bethlehem area and Lehigh Valley residents interested in the recent history of environmental issues in the Valley and the Commonwealth.

Paul Rosier, a Pennsylvania Humanities Council Commonwealth Speaker, will be speaking on September 16th at 4 p.m. in the newly opened STEPS building, 101 STEPS auditorium, on the Lehigh University campus, 1 West Packer Avenue. Professor Rosier, an associate professor of history at Villanova University, will deliver a presentation entitled “Pennsylvania Environmental History: From Earth Day 1970 to Global Warming” in which he will address important historical and contemporary environmental issues that have affected Pennsylvania from the first Earth Day in 1970 to the present. He will also explore topics such as Pennsylvania’s own Rachel Carson and the impact of Silent Spring, the Three Mile Island nuclear crisis, the Centralia coal fire, the problem of invasive species, suburban expansion into farmland, and more. Rosier concludes his presentation with a review of why Pennsylvania produces 1% of the world’s greenhouse emissions and what people can do about it.

The talk is free and open to the public. Here is a flier with more information.