By Carla Ledbetter, specifically for Donne Tempo. ALEXANDRIA, La, January 22, 2011. One way for communities to bring individuals and groups to work together for a common goal is through community gardens.
Working together as a group to grow your own food provides social interaction among community members, creates a great opportunity for one generation to transfer knowledge to the next (who doesn’t know someone who has a parent or grandparent with a green thumb?) and provides the added benefit of helping to reduce family food budgets. Community gardens can also transform blighted, eyesore parcels of land into beautiful, bountiful areas of colorful, flowering plants (think empty lots formerly overflowing with weeds converted into rows of colorful, flowering vegetable plants).
The American Community Gardening Association, which is an organization whose mission is to build communities by increasing and enhancing community gardening and greening across the United States and Canada.
Founded in 1979 to help gardening programs share limited resources and benefit from each one’s experience and areas of expertise, this group understands that community gardening improves people’s quality of life by “…providing a catalyst for neighborhood and community development, stimulates social interaction, and creates opportunities for recreation, exercise, therapy and education…”
Some of their efforts include:
- Facilitating the formation and expansion of state and regional community gardening networks
- Developing resources that can help to support/promote community gardening efforts
- Encouraging research and conducting educational programs
Another thing they do is help gardening professionals and volunteers stay in touch with other gardeners and learn about the latest techniques and developments. They offer visitors and members alike a variety of videos and articles about ways to go about organizing gardens, create school gardens, urban gardening, fertilizers and soil building, composting, community garden security issues, etc. This organization also provides a way for interested individuals and groups to locate community gardens in their respective areas and offer links to gardening workshops and seminars in different areas of the country.
Community gardens don’t grow by themselves; they require active participation on the part of individuals and groups. However, the wonderful thing about community gardens is that whenever and wherever they do grow and prosper, so do the communities that sponsor them.
Carla’s latest suspense novel, Artful Misdirection, is currently available in Kindle format on Amazon.com! A native of Louisiana, she is also a contributing writer for Out and About Louisiana. Follow Carla on Twitter, Facebook, Blogspot and LinkedIn