Three years ago, a group of my friends and I started a community garden. We are all a mix of twenty and thirty-something city-dwellers. None of us grew up on a farm and some of us are prone to killing anything we try to grow (okay, that’s just me). Our friends Jeff and Andre have a large back-yard and they decided that they wanted to host a community garden. So we started googling whatever we could find about planting a garden: how to prepare the soil, when to plant, how to care for things, etc. We tilled up the back yard and put our plants in the ground and to our amazement, we had an abundant harvest! This past weekend, we pulled out our shovels and hoes and got to work. It was a full day of digging holes, fertilizing, planting, painting and spending time together. By 7:00 pm we were all tired, covered in a mixture of dirt and manure, and hungry from a long day’s work.
As I was reflecting on our day, I was thinking through 5 reasons that you might want to consider joining forces to create a community garden:
- Shared labor. When your life is busy, the idea of adding one more thing like a garden can be a bit overwhelming, but when you have a group of people who come together to plan, work, and share the maintainance, it becomes much more manageable.
- Affordability. We opened a checking account specifically for the garden. At the beginning of each season, everyone adds $25-$50 to the account. So far this annual fee has covered our garden expenses for the entire year! Talk about cost-effective!
- Vacation. Summer will always bring vacation time. Rather than worrying about coming home to a dead garden, there’s a group of people who can cover for you while you’re out of town on family trips or even on business.
- Trying new things. When you’re planting a larger community garden, you’re more likely to try planting some things that you wouldn’t try on your own. This year we added a blueberry bush and a peach tree to our garden.
- Community. My favorite part of the garden is time with the community. Great conversations happen as you dig in the dirt or pull pesky weeds together. We committed to working on our garden once a week and having dinner together on those nights. The families bring their kids, friends drop by and we spend precious time together.