MANCHESTER, NH – Members of the community gathered in Sheehan-Basquil Park off Lincoln Street in a celebration of multiculturalism and horticulture. This event was inspired by last year’s Arts and Plants Festival. Many commonalities were shared between the two.
Manchester Grows, an event organizer, had set up potted plants which swayed in the wind while a drag performer danced in the background. Many different stalls were set up, including 603 Forward, NH Mutual Aid and Relief Fund, and Queerlective. Representatives from city government, including Mayor Joyce Craig, and Alderman-at-Large June Trisciani mingled with the crowd.
“We’re selling volunteer-grown plants,” Peter MacClellan of Manchester Grows said. “We’re promoting community and urban gardening and access to responsible food for underserved communities. We operate a community greenhouse. We manage community gardens around the city. We grow and distribute food to local food banks.”
Queerlective, a recently-formed group, also helped organize the event and works to create a bridge for community growth through various events they help organize in Manchester and Concord.
According to the group’s mission statement, Queerlective aims to be an organization by the community for the community. We ensure that the work we do is to directly uplift the diverse creative economy of Manchester. Through using art to bring together and celebrate the community, we feel we can build stronger connections throughout New Hampshire.
“What Queerlective does is organize events to celebrate the diverse community here in New Hampshire,” Queerlective Executive Director Randall Nielsen said. “At every event, we always have an aspect of art to that because our team really believes that art is a tremendous tool for making connections and engaging people. We also provide opportunities to uplift marginalized artists and get them in spaces they otherwise wouldn’t be able to access, as well as getting them access to certain resources they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.”
Added Nielsen, “This is an event that Kimball Jenkins, Queerlective, and Machester Grows organized to kick off the Farmers Market series that Manchester Grows is going to be running. What we really wanted to do was start off the farmers market series with a really big celebration. We had a really fun lineup of performers come today. There’s a lot of really great organizations here to celebrate the community.”
Yasamin Safarzadeh, another event organizer, said, “It’s really about food accessibility, amplifying marginalized voices, and celebrating Manchester’s inherent diversity.”
The Farmer’s Market will continue every Thursday starting May 25 at 380 Lincoln Street in Manchester. Manchester Pride will take place on June 17 at Veterans Park.