Group receives Volunteer Service Award for empowering the community through gardening

Hands toucjing greens in a garden

In Littleton, New Hampshire, volunteers and Master Gardeners alike come from all over to help sustain a garden at the Daughters of the Charity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Convent. The group was recognized with the Volunteer Service Award at the Spirit of New Hampshire Awards, held virtually on November 17, 2021.

"This is a wonderful honor and recognizes those who go above and beyond the call to serve throughout the Granite State, shining a spotlight on the often-unsung heroes among us in front of an audience of their families, friends, colleagues and the greater community,” said their leader Evelyn Hagan.

The garden was originally founded in 2008 by Sister Monique Couture, but after she was called to France it was taken over by Hagan and Monica LaFlamme, who are Extension Master Gardeners. Hagan explained how committed the volunteers are to the project and that they make up the true backbone of the garden. Other volunteers from the Master Gardner program include Bill Emerson, B.G. Frazier, Kathi Govatski, Lynn "Roff" Harroff," and Jane O'Donnell. 

Wide view of corn in a garden growing

Their large group of volunteers help maintain a 10,000 square foot space that provides produce for the North Country’s food pantries year-round. Their work has been especially important during the pandemic when many people have faced food insecurity. The volunteers also educate school groups in the community about how to grow food for themselves and others.

A statement from Volunteer NH said, “The Mount Sacred Heart Garden Volunteers lead by example and help empower others in the community through the art of gardening. They use their passion and wealth of experience to engage future volunteers and maintain healthy and sustainable community practices around food.”

Watch Evelyn and Sister Monique talk more about the project here:

Through community projects, public presentations and our UNH Extension Infoline, Master Gardener volunteers bring education about gardening, plants, soil, insects and more to the people of New Hampshire.