Visit a Community Garden This Saturday

Healthy food means healthy people – support your local gardener!

This Saturday, August 11, 2012, is Community Garden Day. Sixty (60) community gardens will host events that are free and open to the public. Event times and activities vary from garden to garden, and include art projects, kids’ activities, garden tours, potlucks, musical acts, presentations on horticultural topics, and more. You can find a complete listing of participating gardens, event times and activities at Gardening Matters.

Community Garden Day is organized by Gardening Matters, a nonprofit that helps grow successful and sustainable community gardens by supporting the gardeners that make them happen.

The benefits of community gardens are many. The cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis have passed resolutions recognizing the contributions of community gardens and gardeners to the quality of life in the Twin Cities. Bloomington and Edina passed proclamations acknowledging the role of community gardens in creating more active and healthy residents.

But improved health may be only part of the story – reduced crime may be another. A recent article in Mother Jones looks at research on urban farming and its impact on employment and crime. The Urban Farm Guys — my heroes — are also working on dropping crime rates.

Community gardens are an important part of the food justice movement and yet there isn’t enough space for everyone who would like to garden. In some communities, there is a waiting list. I’m thrilled that Gardening Matters exists and I’d like to see more community spaces turned over to people who want to grow food. Church lands are often ideal.

I’d also like to encourage people who want to garden to ask neighbors with a sunny lawn if they could use some of their space to create a shared garden. You never know who might say yes. This week we held National Night Out at our house. As I was going door-to-door, one of my neighbors complained about her apple tree. She doesn’t collect the apples. They are a “problem” for her. I told her we would be happy to harvest them. Come September, we will make apple sauce and hard cider.

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