State Lab Community Garden Members Dedicate Little Free Library Honoring Co-Founder

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Members of the JP State Lab Community Garden came together to dedicate a Little Free Library to honor Detlev Koepke, a garden cofounder, who fought to keep the garden when it was threatened.

Courtesy photo Chuck Collins

Neighbors, gardeners, elected officials, friends and family of Detlev Koepke came together to honor his contribution to the JP State Lab Garden and neighborhood with the unveiling of plaques celebrating Koepke’s life on June 17, 2018.

Led by Koepke, the garden was established in 1987 thanks to the community organizing of the Asticou Martinwood South Street Neighborhood Association (AMNSNA).

Today the community garden remains active, producing several tons of produce every year. There are more than 40 active gardeners comprised of neighborhood residents and state lab employees.

Koepke’s brother Jens played an audio clip of an interview with Detlev in his final weeks, said Chuck Collins to Jamaica Plain News. In the audio clip Detlev told the story of organizing a meeting with the state regarding the land that became the garden. At the time it was very possible the land was going to be paved over. Garden organizers have continued to fight with the state as recently as 2016 when the state shutoff water to the garden, according to the Boston Herald.

Many people from the neighborhood, or who knew Koepke for a long time came and brought books to donate to the Little Free Library.

Courtesy photo Chuck Collins

A Little Free Library was dedicated at the JP State Lab Community Garden in honor of Detlev Koepke on June 17, 2018.

"We had a terrific dedication with family, friends and neighbors. (State) Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz came with both of her children, (state) Representative Liz Malia talked about Detlev and his curiosity and spirit," said Chuck Collins to Jamaica Plain News. "City Councilor Matt O’Malley spoke about the importance of the garden and the community partnership with the state lab."

Courtesy Chuck Collins

State Rep. Liz Malia, state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz and City Councilor Matt O'Malley attended the dedication of a Little Free Library at the JP State Lab Garden in honor of its cofounder Detlev Koepke.