In my friend, Annie’s neighborhood, neighbors are using the space where a house used to be to grow food. In a neighborhood by the University, neighbors have planted perennials in a formerly bare and uncared for place. And, in more and more schools, teachers and members of the community are helping to plant gardens so kids can both learn about growing food and get fresh vegetables in their diets.
I have been aware of community gardens for food production for a couple of years. A friend of mine has a plot in a community garden near where we work. We walk over there at lunch sometimes to weed or water. He talks about the garden association that oversees the plots and provides the infrastructure (water, wheelbarrows, mowers). And, this year, I went to the kick off meeting for him because he was out of town. It was really interesting to find out that there are hundreds of people who are passionate about growing their own food but don’t have the space in their own yards and therefore use community gardens!
In May, I was among the folks in my neighborhood who dug and planted a “beautification” community garden. I was not part of the planning, but understand we worked with the city and community garden organizers to determine the scope and location of the project. (I just showed up for the grunt work.) The plants are small now, but next year, people who drive by this particular spot will be greeted by waves of native prairie flowers and grasses!
I got a note from one of the Vacation Bible School teachers at the church a month or so ago asking if they could use the garden plots at the church to teach the kids about vegetables! Of course! So, they planted the garden together before school let out and in August when they have VBS, the kids will harvest the goodies they planted. I think it’s so cool the teachers wanted to do this!
Have I piqued your interest in Community Gardening? If so, there’s a great web site called Gardening Matters that can give you lots of information. And, if you want to see the number of community gardens in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, click the map! Wow.