Community vegetable gardens bring the community together in more ways than one, and give everyone involved the ability to grow fresh food for themselves and their families. With just a few free hands, time, a plot of land and the cooperation of the neighborhood, you can have a garden growing by the time summer comes around. In return, the community gains a beautiful corner, a more involved set of neighbors and the possibility of enjoying fresh vegetables that the garden produces.
If you are interested in the possibility of starting a community garden in your own town, use these tips to help you organize and get started.
Reach Out to Community Leaders
One of the first steps in organizing a community garden is to gain permission for the endeavor from community leaders. Not only do you get the chance to present the idea, benefits and goals, but you might also be able to find a plot of land quicker and gain help for all the preparations from a willing community leader.
Establish a Community Garden Network
Once you have set out to start a garden, it is important that you begin a network of people that are interested in establishing the vegetable garden. These folks can reach out to schools, private landowners and community officials to help find property that can be transformed into a garden plot. They will also be a resourceful group to have around when the time does come to actually establish the garden, keep new volunteers coming in to help and promote the garden for years to come.
Secure Land & Permission
In most cases, any land you use to establish a community vegetable garden is going to be owned privately or publicly. Very rarely is the right to property just given up, but it is much easier to lease the right to use property that is on public land or just going unused. Make sure that any property being used for the purpose is easy for all members of the garden network to access, and that it will not prevent any problems for surrounding neighbors.
Designing a Garden Plan
The final step in designing your community vegetable garden is to layout the parts of the garden, marking off beds, paths and the perimeter. Find out what everyone wants from the garden, what types of vegetables would be more requested from volunteers and what the land you are using can support. Because you are creating a community garden, it is best to have established beds that are easy for everyone to access and manage.
Create a Volunteer Schedule
To ensure that the garden is always being tended, provide a garden schedule that volunteers are able to sign up for when it best suits them. If there are gaps in the schedule, approach community organizations that might be interested in community hours. A lot of civic groups will be interested in volunteering their time when it is needed.