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March 25th, 2011

New Approaches to Community Gardening

don_tnIt seems to me that these days, as often as not, “community garden” can mean “urban farm,” where groups of volunteers coordinated by a visionary soul or committed non-profit organization plant and tend a large garden/truck farm. (Frequently, in these parts, it can be a church, mosque, temple or other religious group with land. A vegetable garden is a good replacement for a ginormous lawn, in my opinion.) Often, but not always, the food is distributed to people who can’t afford or obtain fresh vegetables. Sometimes it’s like a “grow your own” CSA farm (some are set up by farmers themselves), sometimes it is a money-making project for youth (SEEDS/DUG in Durham, NC, is a good one).

I find this approach has a very different “feel” than an allotment-style community garden with individual plots, which is more like a quilt of backyard kitchen gardens than a farm. There are hybrid versions, too. But both approaches can build a sense of community.  —Don Boekelheide, Charlotte, North Carolina

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