The Town of Greenfield placed an agricultural preservation restriction on 31 acres at the Town Farm in June of 2011. The idea of a protected community garden was first explored in 2008 when members of the Pleasant Street Gardens joined together with the Greening Greenfield Energy Committee and Mount Grace hoping to identify and protect land in Greenfield to secure local food production by and for the community.
Within weeks the ad hoc discussion group had formed “Just Roots,” a community group named in honor of the original owner of the farm, Justin Root, who bequeathed the property to the town for agricultural use in 1849. Just Roots worked with Mount Grace and the Town to create a community garden on the Town Farm land.
The first planning meetings in 2009 were facilitated by Kate Kerivan, Mount Grace Outreach Coordinator with the Commonwealth Corps Common Ground program, the precursor to the statewide AmeriCorps-MassLIFT program that provides volunteers to monitor protected lands, expand local interest in conservation, initiate land conservation projects, and engage young people in service learning.