The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › starting a community garden

starting a community garden

Jesse S.
user 29709632
Harrison, ME
Post #: 101
I'm interested in learning more about starting community gardens; others' experiences, resources, any advice on the subject. I live a rural area(Sweden, ME) where the parameters might differ a bit from community gardens in urban areas- high land base, low population. My work with the local food pantry has taught me that that we do indeed have the need, and my vision is a garden that would help this need, provide garden space to those who lack it, and educate people in food production. Please share your community garden stories!
Sue M.
user 3284483
South Portland, ME
Post #: 150
I'm interested in hearing what people have to say on this subject. I plan on moving to Downeast Maine in 2 or 3 years and have thought about doing this very thing. I'm wondering if people have any experience in trying to do this in a small town. Do the people who really need it participate? Does interest in the project start in high gear and then dwindle? Does it work better to have one central location where everyone could come work and learn from each other, or several smaller gardens in different locations to make it easier for people to get to them. I would think there would have to be education on how to actually use the vegetables, and actual tasting parties to get people to eat them. Anybody have any views on this?
Lisa F.
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 2,356
I have only a bit of experience supporting community gardens but here are some useful resources:­

David S.
Washington, ME
Post #: 979
Do you have any arable land you could donate for that use? You could do it privately. I sometimes wonder why some of the locals around here don't do it (other than selling the grass to pay property taxes). Maybe you could get a tax break.

David Spahr
user 42149742
Dover, NH
Post #: 5
Lisa--that looks like a great link and resource, thanks for posting. Jesse and Sue--I've also been considering getting a community garden going in my community and perhaps link up with a school or other group that could both gain from the experience and spread the educational portion. I started a group and small garden several years ago where we worked with school children to assist with the growing. They also assisted with the picking and at the end of the season we would hold an event where meals would be cooked using the vegetables. The children and their families got involved with all aspects of the activities depending on their interest and ability (and safety). There were lots of educational opportunities. Other community gardens I've been involved with varied widely, it really depends on the needs, interests and abilities of the people that would be involved from your community. I've seen people drive unbelievable distances to participate in community gardens. The reasons some of the people gave: for the social aspect of being close to other gardeners, sharing ideas, recipes, methods, learning from each other etc.; they felt safer gardening around others especially early mornings and evenings; resources they needed were provided such as water, soil preparation, etc. In one rural community the community garden organizers provided sheds for people to lock up their garden tools which was very helpful especially for those without cars or who couldn't bring equipment with them, it made all the difference in their ability to participate. Some of the gardens would hold social gatherings where they would share educational information, resources, host guest speakers, food and recipes, etc. Community gardens provide much more than just good healthy food for people.
A topic that needs serious consideration---management-- garden development, mission, rules/policy, abilities, resources, etc.
user 42149742
Dover, NH
Post #: 6
If you're considering applying for a grant, many of them are due Dec. 1st 2013.
Katey B.
user 117459792
Portland, ME
Post #: 1
Please feel free to check out the Alan Day COmmunity Garden in Norway at http://alandaygarden....­. We have had a a wonderful experience and are constantly on a growing edge. I would be happy to answer questions if that is helpful. Overall I guess what has been most successful for us has been to convene community meetings to vision what the needs, resources, mission, commitment is and following that lead. It is good work. Good luck!
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