Starting a Community Garden
Apartment living comes at a cost for those who love to garden. Luckily, community gardens have become increasingly popular, especially as millennials have started to embrace their green thumb. Many populated urban areas such as the ever-popular Los Angeles and New York City already have an abundance of community gardens, but what do you do if your city does not have one or there is no space in the current gardens? The American Community Garden Association has a set of guidelines to establishing a community garden in your neighborhood.
- Organize a meeting: Crowd source to see if there is a shared interest with locals to start a community garden. If you think you have enough interest, hold a meeting with interested people. Invite landlords, locals, neighbors, tenants, anyone who you think may have an interest. This is where you should discuss things such as is there available space, what kind of garden will it be and any other general questions.
- Form a planning a committee: Following the meeting, establish a committee to plan and iron out the details of the community garden. Appoint coordinators to oversee certain aspects of the park such as maintenance, funding, construction, communication, etc.
- Identify resources: Take time to research and find people within your community who may already have access to resources you need. Municipal planners will have access to possible sites. Look for local gardeners or those who have experience to help as well.
- Sponsorship: Community gardens often rely on membership dues, however there are other ways to generate funding and sponsorship in the form of tools, supplies and seeds. Local churches and schools are a great place to start.
- Choose a site: When choosing a site, it is important to take into consideration the availability of water, how much sun the lot gets, the size of the lot and possible pollutants in the area.
- Develop the site: Enlist volunteers to help properly prepare the site for gardening and shared space.
- Organize the site: Establish how the lot will be organized. How many lots will be available? How big are the lots? Will the lots vary on size based on membership dues? This all depends on the size and shape of the lot as well as other factors including community interest and funding.
- Plan for kids and animals: Many families who live in urban areas garden in community gardens together as it is a safe place outdoors where the family can spend time. Setting aside space for children to garden at their own pace in their own space can increase function in the space.
- Create rules: After the lot is ready, establish formal rules and guidelines for the community park and make sure they are in writing. Items to consider include dues, funding, garden size, and sharing of tools and supplies.
- Foster communication: To ensure the idea of the community garden fosters and friendly community environment, make sure there is a channel for clear communication between members in case of an emergency or a change in rules. Facebook is a great way to keep in touch by creating a private group.
- Enjoy your slice of heaven.