SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Friday’s leftover rain showers held off for the Gardening the Community’s ground breaking event. 22News was there as they began to plant and grow on their new, permanent farm lot.

For 14 years, Gardening the Community, or GTC, has grown food on formerly abandoned lots in the Mason Square community of Springfield. GTC is a Springfield based youth led food justice organization that grows food, leadership, and the community. Saturday they celebrated with their new permanent farm lot on Walnut Street in Springfield.

Qamaria Amatul-Wadud, Youth & Farm Manager, told 22News, “Its our ground breaking event to celebrate our owning of the land. We purchased this land last year, but this year we hope to actually start gardening on it.”

22News also talked to Tyrra Minto, Board Member, who mentioned, “On this land we are able to plant multiple things, but its our home-base for community outreach, community events, home-base for distributing food; because we own it, it’s going to be a permanent place for a lot of events we are going to be throwing .”

Vegetables such as tomatoes, beans, lettuce, and carrots are just a taste of what is to be planted. Flowers will also be planted and a green house will be built, where farming and learning can go year round.

This organization means a lot to the members. Moises Ramos-Hernandez, from Springfield, told 22News, “We’re sort of a symbol for change in the community and change what we could see our community to become.”

In 2015 alone, GTC sold or distributed 21,500 pounds of locally grown, affordable produce to over 400 Springfield families.