Many of us have attempted to grow a plant or two, possibly in our back yards or kitchen windows. Maybe a tomato plant that grew more than we could eat, or planted lettuce didn’t get picked before the rabbits ate it. At the end of the day, not all of us have the time or energy to nurture a full garden through the growing season. This is where communal gardens really shine! Whether in a highly populated city or a quiet neighborhood, creating a shared garden can help us with more than just free produce.
When our communities come together to share responsibility for growing fruit and vegetables for our neighborhoods, no one goes hungry. Those without a green thumb can help purchase materials, and those who have more time can prune and water. One never knows which one of the neighbors is particularly good at keeping basil and rosemary alive, while others are better at growing super sweet watermelon. Plus, fresh, in-season produce will be available any time of the year – especially if a greenhouse is used.
A wonderful teaching opportunity
Many people have never had the chance to garden at all, especially those who live in cities or small apartments. Creating a mentor system with a communal garden helps the garden grow and gives everyone a shot at making a positive contribution. It’s also a wonderful way to introduce children to how food is grown and how delicious healthy fruit and vegetables can be. Kids get very excited about eating their broccoli when they grow it themselves!
A social event
Whether we live in a busy area where there are too many people to chat to, or in quiet areas where they keep to themselves, community gardens can help create trusting bonds and help find like-minded people. Who knows? Maybe the community garden will grow enough to sell at a local farmers market to help raise money for schools, community centers, or sports leagues.
Get some sunshine and get moving
Community gardens are a fantastic way to get a little bit of exercise and spend some time in the sun! Getting into a healthy routine can help make us feel better, boost our mood and keep us moving well into our golden years.
So how to get started with a Community Garden?
- The first step should be to see if one already exists! Social media might be a great tool for this, as well as checking a local coffee shop, or asking produce stands at the weekend farmers market.
- If nothing comes up, check out local schools or universities. Many of them have started to delegate space for a communal garden, though they may have not had the chance to start them yet. If not, set sights on a nice spot in a publicly owned local park with the intention to ask the city council to use the space.
- Find a team and gather local support! Getting a good team together and making a bit of noise to see who would be interested in contributing. Figure out what the garden will be, what it will grow, how it will be used and how the produce will be shared or sold. Draw up a design of the garden so that everyone can visualize it.
- Check the soil. Make sure the selected (and city council approved) spot is actually fertile enough to make things grow.
- Get planting and watch it grow!
When we all chip in, a community garden can quickly contribute to improving and growing our communities into a thriving space for years to come!