There are plenty of things to love about having your own backyard or patio garden: fresh produce within an arm’s reach, the satisfaction of growing your own food, maybe even a few bragging rights on your block.But one of the most wonderful things about growing food is sharing it — which doesn’t just mean doling out a perfectly ripe bumper crop of tomatoes. It means getting out there and gardening with your community. Being involved with local farmers and other gardeners is a wonderful way to share a love for fresh, healthy produce. And if you don’t have a garden spot to call your own, it’s an opportunity for you to dig in the dirt anyway. Here are three ideas to get you going.
Find a Community Garden Near You
Plenty of areas have community gardens, where you can either rent a plot of land for your own garden, or volunteer to help grow fruits and veggies for members of the community. Either way, community gardens are a fantastic way to get out and meet folks who appreciate homegrown food. Many community gardens donate their surplus to a nearby facility that can accept perishable food donations, such as a school or shelter kitchen – a double-good deed.
Find a community garden near you through the American Community Garden Association’s website.
Enjoy the Farmer’s Life
Do you have a favorite fruit and veggie grower in your hometown? Is your local market teeming with family-run farms? Many farmers are happy to accept your volunteer hours in the fields. Lend a hand to harvest, clean, sort and more — and possibly get a thank-you in the form of fresh produce. Take a few friends with you each month to learn more about your area’s agricultural community. You’ll meet fascinating people and pick up a few gardening tips of your own.
LocalHarvest.org is just one way to find family farms, community supported agriculture (CSA), and farmers’ markets in you area.
Dig School Gardens!Vegetable gardens are sprouting up in schools all over the country. Many schools are partnering with local farmers, food centers, or the Whole Kids Foundation® to educate their students about food. Join in the fun and get involved! If you have school-age kids, find out if they have a garden. Volunteer to help in the one they already have, or see if you can get one started! Find a school in your neighborhood and ask how you can help. The Whole Kids Foundation has partnered with more than 1,500 schools to get gardens growing. Click here to see if there’s one near you!
Be sure to share your ideas, too. How do you use gardening to connect with your community?