Butterfly Effect Project officially opened its new community garden at the Family Community Life Center with a ribbon cutting this morning.

The garden, sponsored by Island Harvest Food Bank, will donate harvested crops to food pantries throughout Long Island to be distributed to families who need extra nutritional support during the pandemic.

The community garden is a project months in the making. Husband-and-wife team Daniel and Liz Keller have been hard at work building the garden beds, putting up deer fencing, and beginning to plant crops. They’ve documented their journey with videos posted on the Butterfly Fly Effect Project’s Facebook page.

Dan Keller, along with his wife Liz, built the garden for the Butterfly Effect Project. Photo: The Butterfly Effect Project Facebook page.

“We’re already late in the season, but we got some good stuff already. We still have some time to plant some late crops, there’s some open space if anyone wants to get in there and get some planting,” said Dan Keller.

“We’re looking forward to educating the kids on on how to grow and the importance of being able to sustain and where your food comes from. We will plan a much better plot for the garden next year so they can experience succession planting and have things growing throughout the entire season,” said Liz Keller.

Although community garden’s opening is coming later in the gardening season than anticipated, the Kellers have already begun planting and say that there’s still time for some late-season crops. Photo: The Butterfly Effect Project Facebook page.

“I’m really very glad to be a part of this intergenerational – I want to stress that, intergenerational – community garden effort,” said Shirley Coverdale, president and director of the Family Community Life Center. “I look forward to many successful harvests and I know that this kind of effort brings together young and old, people of every ability and it will cement and build bridges that we could never do otherwise.”

“The fact that this is coming to fruition… we went through so many adversities and hardships. I think is emblematic of how we have to persevere through the storm,” Coverdale said.

“I want to thank the Kellers,” said Tijauna Fulford, director of the Butterfly Effect Project. “This has been a very interesting process during a pandemic. Everything that could have happened, happened, and they never wavered. They made sure that this garden went up, and because of you we can now move forward.“

“There were tons of obstacles, and we’re just thankful to have this space. So thank you,” Liz Keller said.

Community leaders came to support the garden during the ribbon cutting Friday morning. Photo: Peter Blasl.

Riverhead Town Supervisor Yvette Aguiar presented the Butterfly Effect Project with a proclamation at the ribbon cutting.

“I am impressed, and I want to thank Tia and all the staff here for having this vision. I look forward to seeing the growth of our community and the plants here,” said Aguiar. “Congratulations executive director Tijuana Fulford and Butterfly Effect Project and the Family Community Life Center on the opening of the new community garden. We welcome you and your new location and wish you much success.”

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Courtney Blasl
Courtney is a photographer, videographer, web designer and writer. She is a lifelong Riverhead resident.