Interest in food gardening is booming. Last year the National Gardening Association reported that more than one-third of American households are now growing some of their own food, a number that has increased by 17 percent since 2008. During this time, the number of Millennials gardening has risen 63 percent, and even the Obamas have a food plot big enough to feed their family on the White House lawn—so what are you waiting for?
The benefits of having a community
Undoubtedly, there’s good reason for the gardening trend. Fresh, locally produced fruit and vegetables taste better, have greater nutritional content and a smaller carbon footprint. However, not everyone has access to their own fertile plot. Especially true for those in urban environments, a community garden is often the only option—but a beneficial one! A community garden is a richly fulfilling way to share your craft and your experience with others. For those new to food gardening, it’s a great resource for learning, and if you’re already an old farmhand, it’s a prime way to connect with like-minded people and share your expertise.
Joining or creating a network
These days, every large city has a network of community gardens. Unfortunately, you’ll find that many are full due to their growing popularity, and as such, keep a waiting list of prospective members. Also, you might discover that there aren’t any gardens in your immediate neighborhood; in this case, be proactive and consider organizing your own. The American Community Garden Association maintains a database of existing community gardens, and you can get one going using GetAssist.
Finding a suitable space
The first provision you’ll need is access to land—most community gardens occupy at least 1,000 sq. ft., while some span an acre or more. Peruse your neighborhood for a sunny, unused, plot of land that looks ripe for planting; find out who owns it and inquire about their willingness to convert it. Churchyards, school grounds and city parks are some of the most common places to start a community garden, though sometimes private landowners can also be persuaded.
Keep in mind, the site will need to have access to water for irrigation, and may require the construction of raised beds if the soil is poor.
Finally, don’t forget the most important resource: people! Start building your community with the help of your GetAssist community. Recruit interested parties with the same hobbies and involve your group in the planning of the garden itself, as it’s a great way to connect. Once you’re ready, there are smart apps to help you figure out when to plant which crops, and don’t forget GetAssist is here to help you manage the ‘community’ aspect of community gardening—let’s face it, that’s half the fun!