One woman joined a community garden after her husband died so that she would have somewhere to go and something to do. Another comes to get away from a stressful job. A third lowered his blood pressure so much that he’s now off medication for the first time in years. A family that just relocated from across the country wanted to literally “put down roots,” and then there’s the mom (many, actually) who wants to teach her children skills that have skipped two (on the way to three) generations.
Hang around and chat a bit more with community garden members and you’ll find someone who lost his or her job and others who are struggling financially who find that they can grow more healthy food than they can afford to buy. You’ll meet a senior citizen who is honored to take on responsibilities, and folks who want to grow crops that are culturally-appropriate that they can’t find in supermarkets. Some avid home gardeners join because they want to meet fellow gardeners in their larger community, or because they like to teach others. Others like to grow for the local food pantry, and some enjoy beautifying the environment, improving property values, and reducing crime. There are so, so many reasons why people are flocking to start and join community gardens (there are now more than 350 in metro-Atlanta alone, many of which were started in just the last few years) and these are just some of them.
I got involved because I wanted to help increase my city’s local food security. I think I also wanted to find out what was really possible. Could we grow 12 months of the year? (The answer is yes). How much could we grow? (Two pounds per square foot per year, easily.) Could we donate to a local food pantry? (Yes, tons). Could we teach and learn from each other? (More than I ever imagined.) Would people get involved? (In droves.) Would it be hard? (Hard work, but not hard, if that makes sense.) Would it be sustainable long-term? (Time will tell.)
What I did learn for sure was that there are many ways to do things, and they are all right (because even when they don’t work, you learn from it.) I do advise new gardeners to start with Farmer D Organics products as much as possible because you can pretty much expect success if you do so (assuming you also have a location with enough sun and water). Success feels good, and I’ve noticed it inspires people to stay with it and take on more challenges, and it attracts more people who want to get involved as well. And that helps everyone get whatever it is they truly need out there in the community garden.
Swing by the Farmer D Organics shop on Briarcliff Road or online for sustainably-harvested 2″-thick cedar raised beds, Farmer D’s Biodynamic planting mix, and Farmer D’s custom-blended fertilizer which integrates with the planting mix perfectly to form a complete solution, plus seeds, tools, and more. Farmer D Organics also provides a full range of consulting services (including “walk and talks” around your community garden with personalized advice for each member) to help your community garden be a success.