If you’ve ever grown your own fruits, vegetables, or herbs, you know how beneficial owning a garden can be. Households with access to their own gardens can grow and eat fresh produce, spend time working in the fresh air and sunshine, and cultivate beautiful, colorful plots in their backyards. Unfortunately, not everyone has the space to grow a garden on their own property. This is where community gardens come in. These shared plots of land provide a place for everyone in the community to try out their green thumbs. Make your own neighborhood a little greener with these fruitful tips for starting a community garden.
Determine Community Interest
Of course, the first step to creating a community garden is to gather a community. Find other local gardeners who are also interested in creating a shared plot of land. You can host meetings or create a Facebook group to gauge local interest. This is also a great time to gather volunteers or start a committee of people who can lead efforts.
Pick the Perfect Plot
Once you know this is something your community wants, you can start looking for the perfect place for your garden. Your community garden should have access to fresh water and plenty of sunshine throughout the day. You also want a spot that’s easy to get to with a decent amount of parking space. If you’re not sure where to start, talk to the city government, school districts, churches, or other community organizations that may have vacant lots or be willing to sponsor one.
Create Your Guidelines
As you set up your garden, it’s important to establish a few guidelines for yourself and your fellow gardeners. Consider what rules you need to keep everything in the garden growing nicely. For example, how much will it cost to reserve a plot, and how long will that reservation last? Are there any restrictions to what you can grow? Try to center these guidelines around courtesy and respect for the garden and everyone who visits it. Rules such as only walking on pathways protects everyone’s individual plots. Meanwhile, banning the use of pesticides keeps the garden safe for your local bees and other pollinators.
After you’ve checked off thesetips for starting a community garden, you still have to work to keep people interested. Continue to encourage new members by hosting events, sharing parts of your harvest, and inviting people to register for plots at the start of the season. Get creative with your promotions by sending out seed paper invitations or business cards that inform people about the garden while giving them something to plant in their own plots of land. As long as people are invested in the garden, it will continue to benefit the entire community for years to come.