Finding Community in a Garden
- Thursday, May 03, 2012
Who is your community? It could be your neighborhood, your apartment complex, your singles group or entire church family, or a group of like-minded friends. You’ll need to have some planning meetings and larger communities will need a committee to get things off the ground. After all, someone has to make decisions, such as…
Where will your garden grow? You’re going to need somewhere to plant your plants. Vegetables need at least six hours of sunlight a day, so a sunny spot is a must. Water is also required, so you’ll need access to that (and a way to pay for it). Ideally, your garden will be conveniently located for most or all of your garden club members. (Gardens do require regular maintenance; weeding, watering, and the like.) In urban areas, gardens often pop up in vacant lots—but this requires the owner’s permission, possibly a lease agreement, and maybe even garden insurance.
- What are the rules? Even the Genesis 3 had rules—and you know what happened when Adam and Eve broke them. Think of it as a kind of code of conduct: how will common expenses be paid? How is the produce parceled out? Will you assign plots to different gardeners (you can share seeds) or grow everything together and divide it up somehow. What’s the weeding/watering rotation and who does what? Spelling out the rules in the beginning will help avoid misunderstandings later.
Bloom Where You're Planted
Once you get started, don’t be surprised if people notice. My cousin reports from their fledgling garden that “we have had a wonderful response from the community. People driving by have stopped to ask questions, some even giving money, ‘just because they want to help.’ A youth from the neighborhood saw us working and asked if she could help; now both she and her grandmother attend regularly! The community garden is an outward and visible sign of God’s love and people are responding. Now if we just had some rain…”
American Community Gardening Association, a bi-national nonprofit membership organization of professionals, volunteers and supporters of community greening in urban and rural communities:
Urban Harvest, a local (Houston, Texas) charitable organization supporting a network of urban gardens, farms and orchards that inspire and empower people of diverse backgrounds to grow food in the city.
- Seedfolks, by Newbery-Award-winning author Paul Fleischman. Yes, it’s fiction and yes, it’s a kids’ book. But this poignant story of what happens when a derelict vacant lot is transformed into a community garden in inner city Cleveland might be just the inspiration you need to start planting.
Susan Ellingburg is a natural-born Texan who sings at every opportunity, reads as much as possible, and cherishes every day she gets to spend with friends. She's a serious foodie and not-so-serious gardener who is determined not to let being single stand in the way of living an amazing life. Read Susan's blog at TastingGod.wordpress.com.
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