June 5: Paul’s Memorial Garden Project

We’d like to share this announcement:

Paul’s Memorial Garden Project


In loving memory of Paul Yeskie, Sr. & Paul Yeskie, Jr.,

Victims of the Northampton Arson Fires December 2009



DATE: Saturday, June 5th, 2010 11 AM – 3 PM

PLACE: Meet at the Main Entrance of Smith Vocational School, Northampton

Please join us to make this garden a reality. Bring plants, seeds, tools or just yourself. The organic vegetables grown will be donated to Meals on Wheels and others, just as Paul Yeskie, Sr. did during the last years of his life.

Dear Northampton Community Member,

It was just five short months ago that our City called the “Paradise of America” was reeling from serial arson. My loved ones Paul Yeskie, Sr. and Paul Yeskie, Jr. were the two victims of the fires. The father and son died huddled in each other’s arms unable to escape the blazing inferno their home had become as a result of this senseless and horrific crime. The loving outpouring of community support was so healing to all touched with loss. As I personally attempted to heal, I recalled many fond memories of being with both Paul and his son Paul Jr., again. Paul Sr. had taught me how to garden many years ago so I remembered us being at his garden. My memories of his son Paul Jr. were of his cute, quirky, warmth and the immense generosity of his spirit. He gave me a beautiful wooden box he had made for me once. Another anecdote from the wake was the time he told his boss he didn’t have to pay him this week because he had won big at the Three County Fair races over the weekend. So it was in those fond memories of the two, that the seeds of The Paul’s Garden Memorial Project were sown.

I decided to continue growing vegetables just like Paul Sr. did and donating the harvest to The Meals on Wheels program like he had also done for years. The generosity of Paul Jr’s kind nature and his respect for his elder that seemed not of this era, were a perfect remembrance of him. Below is an update on how the project has continued to blossom and how we could use the support of your organization and the entire community in this effort.

Paul’s Memorial Garden Project~Growing Food & Teaching Peace is in its infancy and like all newly born it needs a lot of tender, love and care. Above all it needs the generosity and compassion from the Northampton community that we witnessed after the tragic fires that took the lives of these two men that Paul’s Garden commemorates.

Smith Vocational High School embodies that spirit of community. They have generously offered to host the project by providing a beautiful 10,000 sq ft piece of land to grow this garden design to nourish and heal. Horticulture & Forestry Director John Kelley and I collaborated to bring this vision of growing food and teaching the principals of “do no harm” in organic agriculture for Smith Voc students as well as workshops for the entire community. I co-authored a curriculum called Wake Up & Smell the Soil: Conscious Careers in Agriculture to teach organic farming practices to the students at the school who are part of the Future Farmers of America program. The curriculum also looks at the carbon footprint of food and educates all Smith Voc students on why local is good! The educational component of this program couldn’t achieve the funding it needed to get off the ground this spring. It is our goal to launch this aspect of our project in the fall.

When I saw what the student’s had made and left on the site long before anyone knew what the land would be used for it seemed fitting. This circle shows how all life in our community is interconnected and we can strengthen each other!

Right now, we need the Northampton community to come together and support us to grow food and distribute the majority of the harvest to the Meals on Wheels Program in Northampton. We would appreciate your contributions in any form: monetary donations, plant contributions, your time and energy to nourish the community with local, organic agriculture that has the power of sustaining land and sustaining people. Visit us via our Facebook Page Paul’s Garden Memorial Project or @ site.paulsgarden.net.


JUNE 5th, 2010


In Deepest Gratitude,

Bernadette Giblin
Founder of Paul’s Memorial Garden Project

See also:

Video of January 2 Prayer Vigil for Fire Victims