Welcome All! I'm a dreamer, I hope you are too! A Posse ad Esse, or From possibility to reality, is a general state of mind. I hope you'll share your possibilities with me as I will with you. Namaste~

June 1, 2010

A little community work

I've mentioned in passing, here and there, little tid bits about community gardens. I've wanted to get my hands into a community garden in my area for sometime. This spring, I thought I was going to get that opportunity.

A nearby city, wanted to start a community garden. A co-worker of mine brought in a newspaper with an article that he had read that said they were looking for a coordinator to help provide them some vision and to bring the project to fruition as it were. A~ and I went to the first meeting that they had, as interested parties. There was one other person that showed any interest in helping and he was there as well.

As it turned out, he and I were about as far apart on the community garden front as two people could possibly be. I, to put it plainly, believe community gardens should be organic poly-cultures made up of plots that are "owned" by individual gardeners or families. I think they offer a great opportunity to learn from each other and to offer instruction to the community. The other fellow is more of a "traditionalist" shall we say. He likes to have big rows of one crop. He's big on chemical fertilizers, even to the extent of telling me that he's "planted a little late when it's been cold weather and then just really go heavy on the fertilizer for a few weeks to catch them up." and when we discussed classes for beginning gardeners his belief was that we'll tell them when they have to spray for this bug or that. Yeah, like I said, we're really diametrically opposed on the basics.

Long story short, and believe me it was a long story, I ended up not doing the community garden at all. Not so much because I'm not willing to work with others well or anything. Basically I guess I was just not willing to put the things I believe in so strongly to the side for the sake of working with what was a very very... ummm... Strong personality. Yes, that's it, a strong personality.

If I'm being honest about the whole process, I don't blame that guy at all. He was reliable, he was motivated and he was a hard worker from what I saw. He and I were just from two different schools of thought. The problem I have with the whole process was with the city and it's representatives through the whole process. From the get go, I realized that we envisioned two distinctly different visions for the garden and I put my vision together on a very clearly stated "mission statement" for lack of a better description. I sent this to the administrators and said basically "This is where I'd like to take you, if you want to go there, I'm your guy. If you don't them he's your guy. No hard feelings either way." Still, the city had no commitment to a particular vision of their own, and from what I can tell were just bulldozed into doing whatever was in front of them by a "very strong personality".

In the end, I did end up going down and helping the five families that ended up having small plots in the garden to get a few things planted. I donated some tomato plants that I had started and I felt good helping out to some degree. It was a learning process and one that pointed out a number of things to be concerned with the next time I take on a venture like this again in the future. And I will take one on again I'm sure!

Here are a few picture of the garden as is stood on the 22nd of May when we went out to plant. It had rained hard for two days prior to planting so it was a bit of a mess, but we did get get planted nonetheless.This is the whole garden. It's a really good sized area that the city decided to use. You can see some of the plots along the back and right side that have been planted already. Corn, Tomatoes, peppers and tomatillos. That's it. All planted by one guy, paid for by the city. It will go to the local food bank so that's good. But apparently the local families will have only corn and salsa?
This section. has a number of smaller plots laid out and are the plots allotted for individual families. The plots on the right side were complete soup. Very very wet!

And here were a few of the families that showed up to plant.

I hope I don't come off too whiny about the whole process. It was a great thought that the city had in wanting to have a community garden for it's citizens and I wish them all the very best of luck. I just can't help but see so many possibilities that are being missed.

One day.... Till then, best to you all.


RV Stone said...

Too bad, I'd love to see some gardens like this in our area of Utah also. Do you mind if I ask what city?
I attend a monthly garden seminar put on by some local master gardeners. 2 are organiclly inclined 1 not so we get a better balance than what you faced. Better luck next time.

Damn The Broccoli said...

I don't think it's whiny at all, doing the right thing in the wrong way, to me isn't any better than doing the wrong thing in the first place.

Chemicals and fertilizers all rely on oil for their production, if you don't learn how to work without them then what chance when the oil runs out?

All that is happening is you are forestalling the inevitable.

Also as you say one crop will not keep you particularly well either. Not if some blight or pest should take it.

Sandy said...

An appropriate quote for this situation:

“All of our social problems arise out of doing the wrong thing righter. The more efficient you are at doing the wrong thing, the wronger you become. It is much better to do the right thing wronger than the wrong thing righter! If you do the right thing wrong and correct it, you get better!” Russell Ackoff