27 September 2011

Community Gardening Bust

While I was staying with my wonderfully supportive boyfriend who was letting me borrow his car to get back and forth to work (I now have my own set of wheels again...yay!) he and I went for a walk around his neighborhood.  

We came across what had once surely been a magnificent community garden complete with a children's garden, raspberry bushes, and herbs. But it was no longer the beauty it once had been.  

You could hardly see the vegetables for the weeds and the grass and you could tell that no one had been taking care of it recently.  

So this brings me to a frustrating question: should we really create community gardens?  I know you're all screaming "yes! Yes! of course we should!" but this is not the first garden I have seen get neglected by its creators.  Another baby community garden in Wilmington was overlooked almost completely this season, some of the beds were not even planted!

Of course we all know the pros of community garden: teaching people to grow their own food, teaching children where food comes from, teaching children through gardening (science, math, etc), eating healthier, etc.  But you cannot simply plant a garden and expect those things to happen.   You must continue the work throughout the season.  You must meet with the families and teach them first how to plant, then how to water, how to weed, how to harvest, and what to do with what they've harvested.  

I rescued a ripe zucchini and squash from the garden after sadly seeing several rotting away into nothing.  Rotten tomatoes litter the ground; other plants, weed choked, produced nothing.  

I just wish people who come up with these great ideas and start organizations and projects and initiatives would follow through.  Its a great gesture to plant a garden but is the gesture not unlike a fake smile if you allow it to rot and become choked with weeds?

Is there a solution to this?

No comments: