I’m excited to discover several families in my neighborhood who are interested in pooling together to develop a community garden. Ours is what you called a “mixed-use community,” which basically means there are traditional houses, bungalows and townhouses within shouting distance. It’s nice because there’s a myriad of folks here: single, married, LGBT, retired, just starting out, kids, no kids; you get the picture.
My first research into community gardens came while I was the daily gardening blogger for WRAL.com. During the summer of 2007, I visited a community garden or farmers market across the Piedmont Region once a week–it was a lot of fun and I learned so much about sustainable gardening, and the WIC program. It was a great series. One community garden, in particular, that has always stayed at the forefront of my mind is the SEEDS Garden in downtown Durham, NC.
So as a small group of us begin to brainstorm how to move forward with lobbying the Developer and the Town for access to the plot of land (which is overgrown and forgotten), here are points that seem relevant:
- Can the community garden be under the supervision of the community gardeners, or do we need to try to purchase it (or would the Developer donate it as a tax write-off)?
- Can anyone come into the garden to harvest, or is it just the families who participate in its tending?
- Does it need a fence?
- Do the families in closest geographical proximity provide water and community garden members split the bill to offset the costs (that is, if we amend rain by watering)?
- Do we need to start a separate bank account for the community garden and have a “treasurer,” or would we be better off seeing if any local stores would offer small grants?
- Do you think the NCSU Agricultural Extension Office would be a good resource for our flora?
Here are a couple of links I found in a quickie 3-minute search on the Google machine:
- North Carolina Community Gardens Partners
- Eat Smart, Move More North Carolina: Growing Communities Through Gardens
- Urban Harvest Community Gardens Program
- The Learning Channel: How to Start A Community Garden
- Create the Good: Start – or Join – A Community Garden
Have you ever started a community garden, or do you participate in one … and do you have any advice to share?