Get Involved in Your Community Garden
You heard about community gardens from the news or from your neighbors but you wonder what they are and how they benefit you. A community garden is an enterprise in which a public garden is set up for everyone to buy or sell fresh produce, and schools as well as some private businesses have these gardens.
There are many benefits of community gardens. They increase a sense of stewardship and ownership; enhance community identity and spirit; build leaders; serve as meeting point with neighbors and build block clubs, thus preventing crime. They also help in creating a green culture. For instance, they beautify the community and increase the awareness and appreciation of the people for living things; reduce air pollution through the restoration of oxygen to the air; and recycle a large volume of tree trimmings, grass clippings and leaves.
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When you are involved in a community garden you assist low income families with receiving healthy foods and you create a more sustainable city. You also preserve the city’s natural resources. Here are some tips on how you can get involved in a community garden.
Look for Like-minded People
If you are interested in starting a community garden yourself, the first thing you need to do is get together with a group of people who share the same vision and meet with them to discuss the garden. Another thing you should do is research the idea to determine if your neighborhood would want and benefit from the community garden. Call some local gardeners and produce suppliers to ask if they would be willing to contribute to the garden. Set up some meetings and seek out a location in a high traffic area. Finally, advertise the community garden through social media, your website, radio commercials and newspaper ads.
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Get the Needed Resources
For those who already have community gardens but are in need of funds, you can obtain grants from government agencies and local nonprofit organizations. Visit the library and look up a few current agricultural grants so you can apply for them. Be sure to read the application guidelines carefully and send in all materials at least two weeks before the deadline.
Follow the Rules
The rules for starting or becoming a part of a community garden vary by organization but here are some basic ones. Generally you would have to apply to have a plot set up at the community garden and you would need to pay an application fee. You must go to a few meetings with the organization that sponsors the community garden and you are responsible for keeping your plot neat and free of toxins. You cannot plant any flower, fruit or vegetable that is considered illegal by state laws and you need to respect the plots of fellow gardeners.
Promote the Gardens Correctly
Since community gardens benefit the locals, here are some ways you can promote the community garden to locals and motivate them to get involved. Offer discounts on plots to locals who are interested in growing and selling their produce and for the locals who buy from the garden, invite them to seminars that pertain to healthy eating, going green at home or how to buy organic clothing. Also have the gardeners do demonstrations with their produce.
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Community gardens are no longer just a fad that will go away in a few years. Community gardens will be around for a long time and this means more nutritious food for families who cannot always afford produce from the supermarket or who do not have access to the stores. Community gardens also promote local farmers and these gardens epitomize sustainable living for the city.
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