Starting A Community Garden

January 16, 2010

The photo is taken in the Hastings Street Folk Garden, Vancouver Downtown Eastside, an urban regeneration project transforming an abandoned plot of land for food, garden folk art, and as a meeting place for the many residents and community groups who reside in the area. Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside is a neighbourhood characterised by homelessness, poverty, drug use, crime as well as community activism.

The American Community Gardening Association offers the following tips on starting a community garden:

Initial Planning Considerations

Determine what kind of garden – vegetable, flowers, trees, a combination?

Who will the garden serve?

If the project is meant to benefit a particular group or neighbourhood, it is essential that this group be involved in all phases.

Organise a series of meetings and choose mentors to demonstrate gardening skills to equalise gardening knowledge amongst the group.

Develop a source of funding for tools, plants, trees, seeds, potting soil, publicity, etc.

Find a garden site that is easily accessible and visible to the community and name the garden.

Organise a storage space for tools, seeds, mulch, books, a communication board or notebook.

Clean the site, develop a design, organise a regular schedule for gardening work.

Assign distinct tasks for each member of the gardening team, i.e. seed-ordering, publicity, compost and mulch gathering, plant or tree buying.

Organise publicity with local newspapers, bulletin boards, schools, etc.

Organise public planting days, or open sessions for local people to learn about the garden, which might be held in conjunction with different seasonal celebrations.


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