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More on Community Gardening…

A few days ago Ulla from GermanDolls posted about community gardening for fun and food~ and I thought I would follow-up with a sharing of the community gardenin my town in B.C.

Here we are at one of two 4-way stops looking at the community garden. We don’t even have traffic lights the town is so small, but we have a really great little community garden! It is located on village property and run by volunteers. Though the village is small and most people have their own garden, this community garden is for anyone who wants extra (or some) gardening land (and others, more below).

The hearts on the deer fencing were to decorate the fencing (no, not as art for the deer!) and were done by a variety of community members.
Here is a fairly traditional looking garden plot. Our local school maintains sections of the garden with their classes, so students can learn to start seeds, transplant, weed & water, and harvest in the autumn.

There’s not many flowers just yet as we’ve had a very rainy spring… but they are on the way. Every year an elder in our community grows a variety of flowers and then cuts them to bring them to our long-term care facility just down the road. Talk about giving to your community!
Here is a ‘classic’… salad with flowers. It’s just not a proper potluck around here if someone doesn’t put edible flowers in their salad! It sure looks beautiful side by side, and there’s a whole patch of these right now.
Our community garden was once just a corner lot, vacant, owned by the village. As it is one of the first things people see when they drive into town it seemed like the perfect location for a makeover. It is located close to the hospital (mostly long-term care) and school, so it is often visited. Some people grow food, some flowers and some years it is a boom and some years a little more weedy… but it belongs to the people who live here.
If you live in an apartment or other area and are interested in community gardening check with your local authorities, like village or city council or a search online. It’s a great way to involve your children and yourself within the community.
This post is brought to you by Natalie of Woolhalla.
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Community Gardening for Fun and Food

Last year our family and a family of friends became proud renters of a community garden patch. It is a 15×15 feet piece of land that is owned and managed by the City of Greeley. Patches like ours are rented out to gardeners at an annual rate of $25. Originally the land was owned by the University of Northern Colorado, but since they had no use for it, the University donated the land to the Community Gardens project.

“In 2007, the city of Greeley, along with Steps to a Healthier Weld County, recruited a group of interested residents and formed the Community Gardening Advisory Committee. The goal of this group was to encourage families and individuals to enhance their health by growing their own food and getting outside to get exercise in the process.” You can read more about this project here:

There used to be two sites with garden lots. Our patch is located on a site that is in very close proximity to the university and in walking distance from our home. There are 22 patches on the site. The program has become so popular that a third site was added this year. The new site has even bigger patches with drip irrigation, but we’d have to drive to get there.

I don’t know if you have ever visited Germany. The idea of small community gardens is not new to me. In Germany they are called Schrebergarten or Lauben and have been around since the late 19th Century. When traveling Germany by train, you may notice large green parcels of land surrounding most towns and cities. On closer inspection, you’ll see that the land is divided into many little lots, separated by fences. Many of the lots may even have a small cabin or structure on them.

The original concept was invented by school principal Ernst Hausschild in 1864. Together with his friend doctor Moritz Schreber, Hauschild promoted the idea that children, especially poor city kids, should grow up closer to nature and get more exercise. During the economic crisis of the 1930s the community garden idea really took off in Germany, and many lots were given to poor families, so they could grow their own food and be saved from starvation. During WWI and WWII the little garden patches became important food sources for starving Germans. As many big cities lay in ruins after WWII garden plots with shelters gained in popularity as housing units.

If you ever visit Berlin make sure to visit the large garden communities, Laubenpieper colonies, in various neighborhoods of the city. Laubenpieper is the name for the people who rent the lots. http://http// Am I going totally off topic here? Maybe not. The idea behind the new community gardens project in Greeley is not so different really. With so many obese kids these days, kids who spend countless hours playing Nintendo or watching TV, having a green garden patch seems like a really good idea.

Also considering the current economic crises, interest in vegetable gardening is booming. Have you been to your local gardening center lately? They seem packed these days. More and more people are thinking about growing their own food to save on grocery bills.

Luckily our two families are not in financial distress, and we are thankful that we don’t have slave away on our small lot with empty stomachs. The main reason our families decided to rent a garden patch is to grow healthy organic food and teach the children about gardening in the process. We have had a small vegetable garden by the side of our house for years. We grow tomatoes, basil, herbs, squash, and salad greens in the spring and fall. But it’s not very big and we wanted to grow larger plants such as squash and watermelons we need a bigger space. Last year we grew a Three Sister’s Garden. You can read about it on my blog!

Hope you enjoyed this rather lengthy post of mine and leave me a comment. =)
Happy Gardening! Ulla