One of our neighbors decided to create a community garden this year so several other neighbors joined together and they will each have their own garden "patch" in the garden. ather than establish the garden on neutral territory, the garden is being planted in the neighbor's yard across the street from us so we have a perfect view of the project. It has been great for our neighbors as jointly everyone has helped put in a fountain, pathways and arbors while the owner of the property has added other yard art features. Every Saturday the yard is full of neighbors working on "the garden." I decided not to participate mainly because for me, gardening is something I enjoy doing alone and without conversation. But we have enjoyed watching the progress of the garden from our front porch.
One of my best gardening experiences was working on a community garden project. For five years I was a part of a community garden that was actually quite different than the neighborhood garden. In the town where we used to live a group of 10 gardeners got together to create a community garden at our local food bank. Our group of gardeners was made up of some very seasoned gardeners as well as 2 Master Gardeners which made the experience a great learning experience for me. We applied for a small grant from our local United Way to help fund the cost of materials and we were given $500. We worked on our garden from March - October growing a myriad of vegetables to help provide fresh produce for local families in need. We had joint work days at the beginning and the end of the growing seasons but generally we rotated shifts to do the work that needed to be done. One of the things that made our work rewarding was the weighing and measurement system we put into place. We set up some scales at the food bank so on picking days we could weigh our yield before we turned in the produce. At the end of every summer it was so exciting to hear how much produce we had grown and donated to families in need.
At this point if I plant another community garden it will be more like Susan Branch's garden. Don't you just love it?
If you haven't ever tried a community garden you might want to investigate the idea. Whether for your own consumption or helping others, it's a great way to meet people and learn new things about gardening. If you happen to live in the Atlanta area, check out the Atlanta Community Food Bank Community Gardens.