So you want to create a community garden? Before you lift a hoe, here are a few things you may want to consider:
- What is the purpose of the garden?
- Is it going to be a quiet, contemplative place, reserved just for garden plots or will it be a more active, celebratory space as well?
- How will the activities in the garden impact the surrounding property owners?
- Will there be domestic animals kept in the garden? Will well-behaved, leashed dogs be allowed in the garden?
- Will the community garden be used just during daylight hours or also at night?
- Will the site be used year-round or only on a seasonal basis?
- Will the community garden serve an educational purpose?
Location of the property
- Is the community garden site perceived as a safe area?
- Is the proposed garden easy to find?
- Is there bus access to the site?
- Can people easily walk to the site?
- Is the site accessible for wheel chair, strollers, and walkers?
Resources currently on the site
- Is there a minimum of 6 hours of full sun on the site, per day, year-round?
- Is there access to water on the property?
- Is there adequate parking space on the property?
Property ownership and Management
- Who currently owns the property where the community garden is proposed?
- Is there garbage disposal on the site?
- Are there restroom facilities on the site?
- Will there be tool storage on the site?
The challenges of community gardens…
- Unless there is a neighbor nearby, some isolated gardens can get vandalized.
- Sometimes a less-than-honest neighbor or visitor may steal your ripe vegetables and fruit.
- Occasional differences occur between gardeners regarding overgrown paths, shading your neighbors’ plot with your glorious dahlias or vines, or loud music.
Whom to Contact for More Information:
- Your county extension offices.
- Your city community garden offices, if there is one.
- U-pick farmers — ask them how they got started.
- Farmers who have seasonal fruit stands and harvest days
- Your small business administration office — (The SBA can help you create a business plan, a budget for ongoing maintenance, and sometimes provide information about insurance and liability issues).
- Web sites, including the American Community Gardening Association.