How to Join a Community Garden
Gardening has always had a large fan base, but this is another example of an activity – like baking, knitting, and puzzle solving – that has grown even larger since the COVID-19 outbreak began. Not only do some people find it relaxing; gardening also improves mood and mental health . Plus, at a time when things are unclear, being able to grow even a small fraction of their own food can help people feel better.
And while this is great for people who have enough open space to plant some kind of garden, it is definitely not for everyone, especially city dwellers. This is where community gardens can come in handy. But how do you find your own utopian green space ? And how much time and money will it take? Here are the basics.
What is a community garden?
Community gardens can be run by a non-profit organization or local university, or be part of a community’s public health strategy. In some cases, this is one communal piece of land where everyone shares the fruits of their hard work. In other cases, the garden is divided into smaller plots that individuals or families can have for their own use. The size and availability of lots in a public garden depends a lot on where it is located. For example, those located in cities are often located on empty lots (with the permission of the city or the owner of the land). And, as you’ve probably guessed by now, suburban and rural community gardens tend to have more space.
How do I find a community garden?
A quick Google search or browsing the website of your city or area may lead you to what you are looking for, but not every area has a garden. In such situations, you may need to drive (short distance) to a nearby area. You can also visit community gardening websites to find the one that works for you. Some of these include:
How much money and time does it take to join a community garden?
Specific costs vary, but usually the goal is to participate or lease the site as affordable as possible. In some cases, fees can be reduced or canceled for those who cannot afford it on their own. (Check the rules and policies of each individual garden.)
There are no standard fees for community gardens, so you have to do a little research to find out both the cost and the size of the lot. For example, the annual cost of parcels secured through Project Grow in Michigan is $ 130 for full parcels (approximately 750 square feet) and $ 80 for half parcels (approximately 375 square feet). At Sunshine Community Gardens in Austin, Texas, total parcels are 20 feet by 20 feet and cost $ 90 per year, while half and a quarter parcels cost $ 45 and $ 40 per year, respectively.
The amount of time you devote to your community garden is expected to vary considerably as well. While some ask you to only maintain your own site, others have hourly jobs every month so everyone can participate in regular maintenance jobs. Along with the cost and size of the plots, this is something else to look out for and ask when you are deciding whether to join a community garden.