Monday, April 30, 2012

Thinking About Starting a Community Garden?

by Mary Puckett, Urban Gardening Program
from Duval County Extension A New Leaf May/June 2012

Community Gardens offer city dwellers of all ages and abilities access to land where they can grow their own produce.

With food costs rising in an uncertain economic climate, families are finding fresh vegetables and fruits less affordable. Community gardens not only provide fresh produce, but a place where neighbors and communities can come together.

“N Metro Educational and Nutritional Garden”
Many children are unaware of where vegetables come from, cannot identify them correctly, and have no interest in tasting them. It is amazing to watch children working in the garden and see their excitement in harvesting their own strawberries, pulling potatoes and carrots out of the ground, snacking on sugar snaps right off of the vine and even enjoying raw cauliflower with a side of ranch dressing. A great way to get children excited about eating vegetables is to let them grow their own.

There is also a legitimate concern in how mass-marketed vegetables are being grown. Growing organically is becoming more of a priority as is buying through local farmers markets and by investing in our local small farms.

Between the increase in participation at our vegetable workshops, as well as, through phone calls and surveys, I am aware of the growing number of people breaking ground in their own back yards. They are signing onto existing community gardens, or finding out how to go about developing their own community garden in order to grow vegetables for themselves and share with those having a greater need. Most community gardens are often developed by local people in a voluntary capacity.

We are offering a workshop on what you need to know to have a successful community garden.

Please join us at the Duval County Extension Office for a “FREE” workshop:

“What You Need to Know and May Not have Considered When it Comes to Community Gardens”
June 16th from 9AM - 12:30PM
1010 N McDuff Avenue
Call Jeannie Crosby at 904-255-7450 to register

“Superior Garden” in March
In addition to understanding the basics of getting started, there will be an overview of basic regulatory information related to zoning laws as well as the regulations for growing and selling produce in Florida.

Curious what quasi-community gardens are all about or “Spin Farming” which is a national movement designed to connect folks who want to garden with folks who have available land? How about funding? This is always a concern. Come and find out what it takes to be successful in forming a “Non-Profit”, fund raising and/or writing grants.

I hope you take advantage of this excellent opportunity and look forward to seeing you on June 16th!