Are you beginning to see signs of spring and thinking about how delicious just-picked produce can be, or how you can save money growing some of your own food? Suddenly you remember you live in an apartment or condo, or have a yard the size of a postage stamp. Don’t worry, many communities have or are starting community gardens.
It’s a great way to get to know your neighbors, help your community, and help yourself all at the same time. It can be organized as suggested by the American Community Gardening Association, an organization that offers information on how you and your community can set up a garden, or it can be as simple as joining a local group or working with neighbors.
One of the most important aspects is the ground you plan to use. Is it legally available (who owns it, are their insurance issues)? Is it viable for growing what you want to grow? What is the source for water? Is security an issue? Are you planning to do this for one season or is this a long-term project? Do participants agree on who will do the work and who will benefit, or will everyone work with individual predetermined plots within a larger garden? Whatever you do as a group, get it in writing.
It’s also important to check with your local government and find out about any ordinances that may affect your community garden. My city has one of the nation’s leading sustainability programs, and works with local community gardening groups making city property available for use. If you don’t have a program like this in your community, why not suggest starting one. There is often usable abandoned property that could be a real boon to local families, shelters and food banks.
If this all sounds too complicated, do you have a neighbor or know someone with available land? Perhaps they are older or work long hours and need help putting in and maintaining a garden. Provide the labor and share the bounty.
There is nothing like the quality and flavor of fresh produce. With a little planning, you and your neighbors could benefit, children could learn about the land and how to grow things, and everyone can get healthier - deliciously.
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Source: American Community Gardening Association, Salt Lake City Government, Wasatch Community Gardens