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Greenfield neighbors work toward 'Superbia'

Monday, February 27, 2017

It may sound like a Disney game, but "Superbia" is a real-life approach to actual neighborhoods -- and how neighbors can make them more socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable.

For the neighorhood stretching five blocks or more in either direction from Temple Israel on Pierce Street, people of various religions and backgrounds are coming together for a "Superbia" project that's working on finding ways to build connections in "a neighborhood re-design for growing community and resilience."

A community garden is just one of several likely outcomes, but the end result really depends on what neighbors decide to pursue, with the key being a growth in social cohesion, organizers say.

A potluck is planned for March 5 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the synagogue as a kick-off for a community planning process that's designed to be the first phase of a neighborhood-wide transformation.

Lisa Ranghelli, who lives a couple of doors away from the synagogue on Myrtle Street and calls herself "a fellow traveler of the temple," hopes to make part of her side yard available for a shared garden as part of the project.

"I really feel the path ahead for our country and for our planet is really unclear," she says. "More and more, I think we're going to need to rely on our local community for not just comfort, social interaction, and connectivity, but for our livelihoods and our food. We need to learn to be more self-sufficient as a community, not just as individuals.

Rabbi Andrea Cohen-Kiener was involved in a community garden before moving to Greenfield a couple of years ago from Hartford and has helped find ways for the synagogue to reach out to the larger community.

"We want to get people thinkning about our area as a place where the community fabric iss really held together by people knowing each other and connecting around their mutual needs," Cohen-Kiener says. "We're reaching out to homeowners, renters, probably people of different income levels, family statuses, with different kinds of backyards, leafleting door-to-door to interest people to come to this."

"What comes out the other side is co-created by people who show up and have the interest, enthusiasm, and some skills around this."

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Article by Richie Davis of The Recorder; dated February 27, 2017.
Contact Richie at: [email protected] or 413-772-0261, ext 269