People are getting savvy about their food choices, especially when it comes to produce. Although many of us wish for farm to table food, not everyone has the luxury of owning a space to be able to grow their own produce.
Deck and small container gardening has been on the up rise for the past few years, especially in more urban areas. The drawback of container gardening is that the root system does not have the proper space for most crops (like tomatoes).
Fortunately there is a great way for people to be able to grow their own produce, in a large enough space, with enough sunlight. A community garden!
The concept of a community garden is that gardeners rent a plot in the garden for the summer and share the work/upkeep of the space. In addition they have a, “Gentleman’s agreement” to check on each other’s crops. Gardeners splash some water on the thirsty plants, and pull a stray weed here and there.
More of these community gardens are springing up in apartment complexes, churches, and through parks and recreation departments.
The one in Post Falls, Idaho is run through the parks and recreation department and is located a block from the senior center. There is a $25 deposit required at the beginning of the season and depending upon the size of the plot the fee for the season is $20 - $40 (this includes water). Once you sign the paperwork, you are good to start planting!
For those in need of seeds there are seed sharing programs like the one at the Coeur d’ Alene Library which lets you check out seeds for the season. There are also seeds available through the University of Idaho Master Gardener’s program.
The Master Gardener’s offer seeds in exchange for some of the produce back. The program is called, “Plant a row for the hungry.”
Tending a plot can be a big commitment, if this is too much work, there is still a way to get fresh produce without purchasing it. Organizations like the Roots Community Garden in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho offer produce to those that come to work days in the garden. Most of the produce is harvested for the food bank, but volunteers are rewarded with armfuls of fresh produce in exchange for their help.♦