CORNING - The Town of Corning held a commemoration ceremony Saturday afternoon to dedicate its community gardens project to longtime town resident Kate Danforth.
Town officials issued a proclamation that the community gardens, located in a green space outside Corning Town Hall, will now be known as the Kate Danforth Community Gardens. A freshly painted sign was also revealed on the grounds.
“I’m delighted,” town board member Stuart Sammis said. “She was just an incredible individual, constantly giving back to the community.”
Kate Danforth, who passed away last year, was a longtime educator at Corning Community College, volunteer, and beloved member of the community.
Kate Danforth was a math professor at the college. She taught for more than 30 years at CCC, where she received two SUNY Chancellor’s awards for excellence. A member of the Corning Rotary and avid gardener, she was passionate about community service and was an active volunteer throughout the area.
The community gardens were envisioned not only as a place where residents could converge and spend time gardening, but a way to contribute food to the local food bank and fight hunger around the area.
Because of this, the gardens embody what Kate Danforth stood for.
“She loved to play in the dirt,” said her husband, Ernie Danforth. “Not only that, she was very into community service. It’s very fitting.”
“She was a Rotarian, she was a gardener, a community resident; she was just the perfect person for it,” Sammis said.
At the moment, there are about 20 soil beds in the gardens. Many of them have already been reserved by residents.
The beds and the garden itself were built with the help of students at Corning-Painted Post High School. The space can hold roughly 50 beds, and more are on the way.
“I’m really happy for the kids that were involved and really for the community,” C-PP Secondary Education Director Michelle Caulfield said. “I think the whole idea of sustainability and making it grow will be fantastic for the community.”
In addition to C-PP and the Town of Corning, the project was a culmination of the efforts of numerous people and organizations throughout the area. This includes, but isn’t limited to, the Corning Rotary Club, Corning Community Food Pantry, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and Habitat for Humanity.
“I think it really shows what this community’s all about,” Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, R-Corning, said. “Working together on a project that will help a lot of people and teach some valuable lessons. And on top of it, to have it dedicated in Kate Danforth’s name is very fitting for what she’s done for the community and what she meant to the community.”
After about a year’s worth of work, the project is now up and running. But Town Supervisor Kim Feehan envisions gardens such as this extending even further around town in the future.
“It’s growing, and the potential for it is to grow and expand over the entire area,” she said. “We’re really excited about this, and very much so to be able to dedicate this to a wonderful person, Kate Danforth. She was an avid gardener and Town of Corning resident for over 40 years.”
For those interested in gardening space, contact Stuart Sammis at firstname.lastname@example.org.