Community gardening – a concept that connects people of every age and walk of life, to work and learn together, getting their hands muddy, producieng healthy organic food and creating sites of life and blossom in the middle of cities.
Yes, a community garden is a single piece of land gardened collectively. There may be different arrangements for different community gardens, as some have parts of the garden being rented out as allotments. In such a case, a community garden has the advantage that the allotment holders can use the community material to work on their own plot of land and can benefit from the fact that the community is able to share cost in cases they want to get a gardener or a permacultur designer to give them some tips or workshops. The plots are not devided by fences or hedges which enables people to meet more frequently to share ideas and knowledge. And believe is or not, having a group of ten people thinking they don t know anything about gardening, you re sure to find at least ten valuable ideas. Its astonishing, the collective knowledge we possess.
I made use of my time in London in visiting the Forest Farm Peace Garden in London, Ilford. They have Wednesdays and Fridays open for volunteers. On the three days that I spend there I prepared new beds with compost and green manure, did a lot of weeding, some digging, turned the two pit compost, repotted lots of basil, collected a lot of ready vegetables and berries, learned a lot about plants and met wonderful people. On Wednesday mornings there is a group of five people with special needs coming to the gardens to do some work while having a chance to socialize, have fun and leaving everyday with a sense of accomplishment. That is what hands-on working in the garden does, it leaves you with a sense of happiness and accomplishment – you know you have worked and when you walk home in the evening with a smile on your face and a bag full of organically grown vegetables, you know what you have worked for.
The ethics of permaculture – Earthcare, Peoplecare and Fairshare – are an integral part of community gardening. These are places of education and nature awareness, places to connect ourselves with the people, the community and with the earth, the source of life.