Grow Your Own Vegetables Join A Community Garden
One sure way to fight back against Food Insecurity in your home is to start producing your own food. An excellent way to do that, when you are just getting started, is to join a local Community Garden. More and more communities are starting to have them. It is a great place to learn basic gardening skills while having the satisfaction that comes from producing real food for your family. And if you reside in an apartment, this could be the perfect solution for you and your family. You too, can grow your own vegetables.
What Is A Community Garden?
A Community Garden is a group of people with a common goal and interest—growing their own vegetables and herbs. Sometimes a gardening area is provided to the group by a local government, such as here in the Town of Gravenhurst. In our community, an area of 30 raised garden beds has been provided over by the local YMCA building. They are available to rent every year for $10. Registration to secure one of these 30 gardening plots happens every year between March 1 to May 1.
The growing season is May 1 to October 31 every year.
And you do not have to do this gardening without help. A Community Garden quite often has a Gardening Liason Person. This person’s job is to help guide you through your gardening experience. A Gardening Liason Person can offer advice, answer questions, and sometimes they offer workshops. He or she wants to see you succeed in your gardening experience.
Your gardening plot is usually already set up with soil and ready to plant your seeds or seedlings. Water hoses are available for you to properly maintain your garden. You just need to provide your seeds or seedlings and your participation to keep your garden watered and weeded. And of course when the time comes, harvested.
This is an excellent experience for the entire family. Even your children can be involved in growing their own food.
Are There Different Kinds Of Community Gardens?
Yes there are different kinds. The 3 basic types of Community Gardens are:
- Collective Plot Community Garden
- Personal Allotment Plots
- Hybrid Model
Collective Plot Community Garden
One type of Community Garden is one massive garden where collectively the food is grown and then divided among the members. The members all work together to plant, weed, water, and harvest. This type of Community Garden is a Collective Plot Community Garden.
It requires quite a bit of land space to work with, such as a field or an empty building lot. A Collective Plot Community Garden may work well for an organization such as a Food Bank to help supplement the food choices that they hand out to clients. Clients and other volunteers can be recruited to assist with the maintenance and harvesting of the garden.
Other groups that a Collective Plot Community Garden might work for are Supper Clubs, Soup Kitchens and the such. Growing their own fresh vegetables and herbs would help reduce costs and increase the number of meals they can make available to their communities.
Personal Allotment Plan
Another type of Community Garden is referred to as Personal Allotment Plots. This is the type found in our town. A Personal Allotment Plot can be rented for $10/year. This entitles the user to a raised garden bed of 4 feet by 4 feet in size.
The individual gardening plots are built at varying heights, and in this way, it allows the accommodation of people with reduced mobility issues. For instance, some of the garden plots are only 1 foot up from the ground level, while others are designed to be 2 feet or even as high as 3 feet up. So even if you have back problems and can’t lean over or get on your hands and knees, there are options available so you, too, can experience the benefits of gardening.
With the Personal Allotment Plots in our community, they also encourage a plan of growing in squares.
Most people think of gardening as long rows of plants with walking paths in between them. But actually the idea of growing in squares works extremely well in small areas.
Divide your garden plot into 16 square foot sections. In this way you can grow as many as 16 different types of vegetables. As a result, there is less wasted growing space, which leaves less space for the weeds and the best benefit is the ability to grow more food.
The Hydrid Model is the third type and is a combination of the 2 previous types.
It is an area large enough for both traditional row gardening, in addition to small plots for individuals.
It usually is a planting area that is large enough for traditional row gardening looked after by the whole group. Smaller sections are then available to be rented out to individuals.
Find And Join A Community Garden In Your Region
This is just a brief glimpse into Community Gardens. Check with your Community Recreation Departments and ask if they have a Community Garden program in your community. This is a great way to learn about gardening and producing your own fresh vegetables for your family.
Get started NOW by calling your local Community Recreation Coordinator!.
For the registration information for the Gravenhurst, Ontario region the information is:
Between March 1 and May 1 every year
Gravenhurst Centennial Centre
101 Centennial Drive
Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 4 pm
$10 for rental of a 4 foot by 4 foot plot
available in heights above ground of 1 foot, 2 feet, or 3 feet
May 1 to October 31
Now each community will have their own rules and guidelines about how much gardening space is available and what the cost might be. The only way to find out what gardening resources are available in your community is to ask around, so contact your local Community Recreation Coordinator for more information.
Put Fresh Food On Your Table
There are so many benefits for both you and your family by joining a local Community Garden, and most noteworthy is the EMPOWERMENT. Most of all, you now have a HOPE and a FUTURE and able to take control by fighting back against food insecurity issues in your home.
So, pick up the phone, fill out the registration form and join a local Community Garden group today. Make some new friends, enjoy the outdoors, and feed your family.