Monday, May 12, 2008

Great CG Article

These wise words are from "Oh My Aching Debts" Blog:

If you have no room to garden and don’t think a few pots will be enough, try finding some like minded neighbors and start a community garden. Community gardens go back to the 1940’s when the U.S. Government requested that people plant Victory Gardens to provide their own fruits and vegetables according to Living History’s Farming In The 1940s.

Margaret Rainbow Web tells the story of her grandfather’s victory garden at City Farmer. She tells of the beauty and productivity of a garden that fed 6 families. What they didn’t eat got chopped up to feed the chickens and rabbits that they also raised for food. It is a story that is filled with warm memories of times spent with the family and neighbors.

I would be the last person to argue with the government when they say that we are not in a recession or a depression but it is funny that homesteading and community gardening are coming back into fashion. I watched a segment on Martha Stewart today where they were talking about community gardening.

Starting a community garden is as simple as finding a few people in your neighborhood that are interested and then finding a place for it. Vacant lots, roof tops, and common areas can all be turned into a community garden if you can get permission.

Once you have interested people, set up an organizational meeting. Decide what type of garden you want to grow. While for our purposes we would want to produce food, there are other types as well. You could have a community flower garden or children’s garden. Will everyone have their own square foot plot or will they work a common garden and share the produce?

Find a spot. Is there a vacant lot nearby? What a great opportunity to turn an eye sore into a community project. If you live in an apartment, could you use the roof top? I have seen some beautiful rooftop gardens and think of all the sun they get! If you live in a townhouse development or condominium, is there a sunny area in the common spaces where you could get permission for a garden? If there are enough neighbors involved, it really should not be a problem to get permission to put one someplace nearby.

Look for sponsors. To me, this is the best part. Is there a neighborhood business that might be willing to sponsor the garden? They could provide building materials (assuming you are going for square foot gardens) seeds, fertilizer, plants, tools and other expenses. It’s great good will and there could be a plaque involved.

Set the dates. Set up a time schedule with work dates to get the garden underway. Enlist people to clean up and build and others to plant and harvest. You can be involved in the garden without necessarily gardening.

Reap the benefits. Community gardening is more than a frugal way to provide great food for your family. It is also a great opportunity to build more community spirit, get to know the neighbors and beautify your community.

You can find more tips on starting a community garden at The American Community Gardening Association. The Municipal Research and Services Center also has a community gardening section. It is even recommended as a benefit to the food security. Several cities across the Nation have community gardening programs similar to this one in Portland Oregon.