What is a community garden?
A community garden is a piece of land gardened together by a group of people to produce fruit, vegetables, flowers and other vegetation. The land can be public or private and there are often rules surrounding the use of the garden.
What are the benefits of a community garden?
Having access to a community garden is great for many reasons.
- It serves as a space for people to garden who may not otherwise have to opportunity to do so such as those renting an apartment in a city with no yard.
- They can builds community. People who frequent the garden to tend to it and reap its harvest might get to know others around them that they would not have known otherwise.
- Community gardens are a great way to get fresh produce. Whether it is located in a “food desert” where fresh fruits and vegetables are scarce or if it is just down the road from a grocery store, community gardens produce delicious food.
- They are pretty! Who doesn’t love a beautiful garden to look at?
- Education opportunities abound. People of all ages and walks of life can come together to learn about good nutrition, working with the earth, protecting the environment, and other important life lessons.
How can you take advantage of existing gardens in your community?
Many communities already have established community gardens. Touring a local garden can be a great way to get involved and learn more about what is available locally. Visit the links below to find one in your city. Don’t see your community listed? The American Community Gardening Association is a great resource. A wealth of information can be found at https://communitygarden.org/find-a-garden/
- Lexington: https://www.lexingtonky.gov/community-gardens
- Louisville: https://jefferson.ca.uky.edu/content/community-gardens
- Bowling Green: https://www2.bgky.org/bgpr/community-centers/commgardens.php
- Northern Kentucky: https://inside.nku.edu/wellness/services/gardens.html
- Paducha: http://www.paducahky.gov/community-garden
- Owensboro: http://www.centurychristianchurch.org/communitygarden.html
How can you start a community garden?
If your community does not already have a garden, you can start one! Here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling.
- Start talking! Contact people and organizations in your community who might have in interest in collaborating on the project. A great place to start in Kentucky is your local extension office. Also search for gardening clubs or agricultural contacts. Determine what resources are available and in place already.
- Scope out a space. A good plot will be currently empty, get a lot of sunshine, and be conveniently located to those interested in using the garden.
- Decide how you would like to lay out your garden and what you will need. Important things to consider include water source hook ups, storage for equipment, and creating a space that is welcoming of all.
- Set up your rules. These might include topics such as maintenance and upkeep, process for getting a plot, and membership specifics. Think about funding, also. Will people have to pay to get a plot, or will there be a different source of income to keep the garden going? Will the garden be open for the public to enjoy the harvest, or will people only be allowed to harvest personal plots?
Get your hands in the dirt and have some fun!