How to Start a Community Garden

There’s no way around it, healthy food can be expensive at the grocery store. I’m frustrated each week when I look at the prices of healthy, organic food compared to heavily processed, unhealthy food. For people who have a strict food budget, buying healthy food at the store is often a challenge.

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How to start a community garden

How to Start a Community Garden

I enjoy gardening and most years I grow at least some of what my family eats. I realize that this isn’t an option for everyone. Some people don’t have the land or the knowledge. Some people aren’t physically well enough to tend to their own garden. A community garden can address all of these issues.

A community garden is a garden that is available to everyone who helps in some way. That help can come in many different ways depending on your time, money and skills. It could include weeding the garden, helping to can the produce to share with others, buying the seeds, donating the land, hanging up signs around town to advertise. Figuring out how to start a community garden is the first step.

  • Find people who are interested. Check with friends and neighbors. Set up a meeting in your community and put an ad in your local newspaper.
  • Identify the skills your members have. Who can plant? Who has knowledge of gardening already? Who has a strong back or owns a tiller?
  • How will you pay for it? Will you need a sponsor to provide materials or will each person contribute money toward the community garden?
  • Locate the land. Look for areas that are not being used. Is there an overgrown lot or abandoned building? Is there an open area in the park? Look around and contact the owner for permission. Consider things like contracts and liability insurance.
  • Prepare the site. The land may need to be cleared. Junk may need to be hauled away. Sod may need to be removed, and the ground will need to be tilled. Look for volunteers to help with this step. Some high school students are required to have community service hours to graduate. Learn how to keep rodents out of the garden.
  • Organize and divide. Draw out a garden plan. Decide what areas of the land get enough sun for what crops. Decide how large each plot will be. Will you have one large plot for everyone to help or just offer land for each to use for their own garden?
  • Involve the children. Set aside an area for the kids to grow their garden. Check with local schools and see if this can fit into their curriculum plans for the year. Teaching our children how to garden is vital for our future.
  • Make rules. Decide what rules everyone will follow. Will you only allow vegetables? Only annuals? Will you have fruit trees or berry bushes? Will you allow chemicals or will you keep the garden organic?
  • Communicate. How will you keep in touch with members? How will announcements be shared? Consider a Facebook group, email list or even a community bulletin board.

How to start a community garden

I would love to start a community garden in our town. It would be a wonderful way to teach people how to garden, eat healthily and save money on their grocery bills. Toms of Maine is giving away $1,000,000 to causes people are passionate about.  This contest is an excellent opportunity for you to win money toward starting your own community garden by working with a local nonprofit.

Share with Toms of Maine on Twitter or Instagram your #onewaytohelp #entry #yourstate (for example, #NY, #MO, #CA) for a chance to have Tom’s of Maine give $20,000 to a nonprofit of your choice.

Visit 50 States for Good for more information.




Comments

  1. A community garden sounds like a great idea. I don't have a space for a garden and I could use something like this.
  2. I wish I had thought of this back at our old house where we didn't have room for a garden. I had a couple friends who would have gladly jumped on board with a community garden idea! Thankfully I have plenty of room for a garden now - maybe I'll start a community garden here, using some of these tips!
  3. I love the idea of a community garden! I saw one of these near our old neighborhood and wondered what it takes to get one started. 
  4. I think a community garden is a fantastic idea, especially in an urban area like mine. I'd love to see something like this. 
  5. I pitched a community garden to our Home Owner Association. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they will approve!

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