Feb 27

John and I, after much discussion, have decided we will be in Orlando for the next few years and that we are ready to buy a house. We are looking in a great little area of town, close to my job, our favorite coffeeshop, downtown with easy access to both of our families and the best areas of of the city. Near where we are looking there is a 17 acre site that used to be a Naval base and now is city owned. The area is slated for a public park and through help with local organizations, a community garden is now on the list of things to occupy this park.

Community gardens are gardens in areas, both urban, suburban and rural (although usually associated with urban settings where people don’t have yards for their own garden) The way I understand it (and how they are run in Orlando) is plots are rented for the growing season in the garden by community members. The plot size depends on the garden but they are usually around 5′x5′, and the ones in town here rent for about $20 a season. Then you are given free reign on what you plant and grow in your plot, as long as you tend to it, give an extra hour a week for general garden maintenance and give 10% of your harvest away to those in need. A great resource for more info is the American Community Garden Association website.

Gardening is something we’ve recently gotten into, and I still admit to only a partially green thumb. One of the things that came out of our three month study was an awareness of food, where it comes from, and how it got to our plates. Gardening is the easiest answer to all of those things. You know exactly where it came from and how it was grown because you planted it, tended it, picked it then walked it into your kitchen to cook and eat it.

One of the conditions for the houses John and I are looking at is that they have a big yard. This will allow us to garden at home but we are also excited about the community garden. For one, its extra land (for really cheap!) to grow on, it’s also close to (what will be) home, its a way to help those who are hungry in your neighborhood, its rewarding to see the things you grow and the biggest benefit to us is that it will introduce us to new people (especially when we find a home that area and need to meet the new neighbors). We are pretty excited that the garden is going to be there and that we will be moving to a great place in town that cares enough to have a community garden.

Not every city or area has a community garden and for those people, I say garden in your own yard. There is a movement of people who are returning to growing food the way our grandparents did. Check out, Home Farming, you’ll see they are even started and sponsored by Triscuit crackers. Kraft partnered with Urban Farming, to start a push for people to grow their own food. The ‘Start your Home Farm’ button is pretty neat, and the expert advice tab is helpful.

Spring is coming up fast and seeds need to be started, so whether in a community garden or your own yard, I encourage you to know where your food comes from by growing it yourself!!

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