• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Community Gardens  RSS feed

 
David Barton
Posts: 1
Location: Wyoming
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm new to the forum and didn't see a better place to post, so if you have suggestions please let me know. I'm looking for information, people, resources who have started or are running a Community Garden. I'm starting one up in our Northern Wyoming community (pop. 2400.) This is a true community garden where half of the produce goes to those in need with the rest given to the "workers." Any information or suggestions are appreciated.
 
Robert Jordan
Posts: 38
Location: Dublin, Ireland
1
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There's another lady (Inge) doing similar in Holland/ Netherlands also started a thread this week!! It was suggested she log into permaculture global and maybe find similar others who live in your town/county. Two heads /hands/ secateurs definitely better than one especially for starting a community / public space project.
Go for it and good luck. Rob
 
Sam Hubert
Posts: 30
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Parks and Recreation departments are often great resources as they have lots of land covered in lawn that could easily be converted to community gardens, although that may be more appropriate for urban/suburban settings. In terms of donating food to people in need, it is often helpful to have some sort of food preparation infrastructure. Many food shelves don't find raw produce helpful because it spoils fast and isn't "ready to serve". So including the food prep into the community garden system can be very helpful. Also, if you need seeds High Mowing Seed Company gives very generous donations to projects such as yours. All you have to pay for is the shipping. Good luck!
 
Marianne Krasny
Posts: 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Have you accessed all the materials on the American Community Gardening Association website?
 
Dale Hodgins
garden master
Posts: 6553
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
244
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have helped with a few different gardens. Those that require a portion of the products to be given away, don't seem to attract long term gardeners. I would never agree to give up the fruits of my labor. Perhaps those in your town are more charitable.

Two friends had gardens by the university. They enforced a labor requirement on plots that produced stuff to be given away. Some went to the family of the woman in charge. Both friends quit. One now has a plot in a community garden where 100% belongs to the gardener.
 
Hester Winterbourne
Posts: 194
Location: West Midlands UK (zone 8b)
14
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I volunteer in a community garden which is run by the project House Of Bread in Stafford, UK. They work with homeless and vulnerable people in the town. The garden project is only in its second year. On Fridays for example, people gather in the church next door to make bread together which is then eaten for lunch along with soup with ingredients from the garden. While the bread is cooking people drift out and come and learn about growing veg, and pick some salad or raspberries. School groups and corporate groups have also helped out and joined in.
 
Steve Cyclone
Posts: 7
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you have problems with getting volunteers you might go the other way.

Cut the area into lots
Assign or rent the lots to people who want one
Let them keep the produce from their lots
Have an agreement with them that they will donate either half their food or cash to the group

Those that want to keep their own produce will donate cash, those that want cash will sell the second half of their output to the group. This way you can have people work on the their garden plot when their schedule works for them, but you can also have social times when people are encouraged to work on their garden so they can meet their neighbors. I would bet that some will donate mostly all of their produce and some cash.
 
Hester Winterbourne
Posts: 194
Location: West Midlands UK (zone 8b)
14
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I also think that one of the most worthwhile things you can do with a community garden is the get the beneficiaries (i.e. those "in need" that you are going to give the produce to) involved in the planning, growing and harvesting. It's along the lines of the old saying about "give a man a fish".
 
Steve Cyclone
Posts: 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hester Winterbourne wrote:I also think that one of the most worthwhile things you can do with a community garden is the get the beneficiaries (i.e. those "in need" that you are going to give the produce to) involved in the planning, growing and harvesting. It's along the lines of the old saying about "give a man a fish".


That can be part of it. It depends on if you want them to have them help other people with their lots or give them a free/discounted lot and let them grow their own.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
garden master
Posts: 2483
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
466
bee chicken food preservation fungi greening the desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

I have mixed feelings about community gardens. I've only seen them work well in religious communities and prisons: where volunteers are more-or-less conscripted to help out... It has been my experience in other settings, that the head gardener ends up doing just about all of the work, and the other gardeners just take food. Volunteers from the community are notoriously bad about weeding, and irrigation, and picking. It often takes longer to pick a crop with 10 volunteers helping than it takes for one experienced farmer to pick the same amount of produce. And the quality of work is much higher if people-off-the-street are not allowed to work in the vegetable garden. Even when the garden could really use those 10 volunteers, it's hard to get help. Farming is hard work. Few people in today's world have the physical strength, observation skills, or decision making ability to volunteer successfully at a community garden even if they wanted to.

Sometimes, the right combination of volunteers works well together, and enjoys each others company. It's wonderful when it works out. People are fickle, and move away, or have kids, or change jobs, or get in spats, and the magic disappears, then the head gardener is all alone again.

The subdivided field is a common strategy. It runs into problems with pesticide users vs non-poisoners. Plots generate (weed) seeds that contaminate other plots. Pollen doesn't respect boundaries. Irrigation and work schedules may be in conflict. The rain falls on the good and the bad. So do the blights, and the rots, and the bugs, and the hail. Some of those can be blamed on other gardeners... In this scenario, at least give the same person the same plot every year, so that the efforts they put into soil fertility and weeding are not wasted.
 
Hester Winterbourne
Posts: 194
Location: West Midlands UK (zone 8b)
14
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Maybe there is more of a "volunteer mentality" here. OK so my community garden is run by a church-based group. Some of the major contributors are beneficiaries of the project, and are gaining experience and confidence from taking part. Another couple of us just feel that doing a couple of hours volunteer work a week is a "good thing to do". In fact I get 15 hours a year PAID volunteering time from my employer, but I do more than that at the garden. (Some people volunteer in charity shops, or at their local historic property, or for youth organisations like Scouts, or for Parkrun). Also, the person "in charge" is salaried via a grant which the organisation got, so it's not a failure of the concept that he spends more of his time than anyone else working on the project. It may take longer to harvest a crop with ten volunteers than one trained worker, but that's not the point - the involvement of the volunteers is part of the "yield" of the project.
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
Posts: 9848
Location: Portugal
874
bee bike books duck forest garden greening the desert solar trees wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I visited a very impressive community garden, run on permaculture principles, in Bristol a couple of years ago.

There's a write-up and a load of photos here - Easton Community Garden





 
Honor Marie
Posts: 21
Location: San Francisco area, USDA zone 9
1
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My city has a successful garden that donates all of its food to a halfway house. Their secret of success is that the garden is run as a classroom. Volunteers come at class time to learn gardening skills from the master gardeners.

I would be very reluctant to join a community garden that shared all of the land communally. I want to do things my way, in my own time, without other people telling me what to do. I would be happy to donate half of the produce from my own plot, however.
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Posts: 3959
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
160
bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
David, if you are still around, here is a thread with some videos that might be helpful.

Wyoming Farm to Fork
 
It's a pleasure to see superheros taking such an interest in science. And this tiny ad:
Learn, Design, Teach, & Inspire with Permaculture games.
FoodForestCardGame.com
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!