What is a Community Garden?
A community garden is a shared space where people of all ages and cultures gather to grow fruit, vegetables, and/or small livestock. Food may be grown for the garden’s members, for a community organization, or for the community at large. Often, community gardens rent out plots to members on a yearly basis. Tools and seeds are provided for anyone who needs them.
Why Start a Community Garden?
A community garden can help members learn how to grow healthy, affordable food in a way that is good for the earth. It is also a good place for members to meet other people who are interested in learning how to grow their own food. By working together, members can learn from each other and share their resources, making gardening easier and more fun for everyone.
Who Should Use the Community Garden Toolkit?
The Community Garden Toolkit can be useful if you are trying to decide whether a community garden is right for you, and what kind of community garden will work best in your community. It will give you a good idea of what you need to run a community garden, and it will help you think about possible partners.
If you have decided to start a community garden, the toolkit can help you make sure you don’t forget any details. Many problems can be prevented by planning ahead!
If you already running a community garden, the toolkit can help you understand your progress and give you ideas to help make your garden better. It can also help you connect with people running community gardens in other parts of New Brunswick.
What is Included in the Community Garden Toolkit?
There are many steps to creating a successful community garden, and the Community Garden Toolkit can help you at each point along the way.
Before you do any digging, you should think about who might take part, and about what they hope to accomplish. For example, are you hoping to reach seniors? Newcomers to Canada? Students? A mixed group? Each group of people will come with different goals, strengths, and challenges which will help to shape your garden.
Also, there may be other people or groups in your community who would be interested in helping, such as schools, community centres, or faith groups. Each of these will have something special to add, whether it is land, tools, time, money, or skills. By thinking about this ahead of time and making sure that everyone knows who will do what, it will make things run more smoothly in the long run. The toolkit includes sample application forms for members, advice on creating mission and vision statements, tips for building good relationships with landowners and other people in your community, and more.
Next, it is important to plan your garden well so it will grow for many years. This means choosing a site which is near to where the members live, where there is space for all the gardeners, and where there is enough soil, sun, and water. You may also need a toolshed, compost bins, raised beds, and other structures. In the toolkit, there is information to help with all of this, including a sample site map, checklists, and a list of foods that will grow in New Brunswick. Since it sometimes takes a lot of money to build a garden, the toolkit also has a list of possible funders, as well as advice on how to apply for grants.
Finally, once a garden is planted, there is still lots to do. To help avoid disagreements and to keep everyone safe, you should have guidelines in place ahead of time so each member knows what to expect. You should also think about how you will know whether you are meeting your goals, and how you can do better. The toolkit is full of sample guidelines, forms, and other useful resources, so you will be able to make your garden a place where everyone feels welcome. Since your garden will only keep growing if it has a good relationship with the rest of the community, it also has ideas on how to let the whole neighbourhood know about the great work you are doing.
Many Hands Make Light Work!
A community garden takes a lot of work. But if it is done well, it can also make your neighbourhood a better place to live. The Community Garden Toolkit is designed to guide you every step of the way. If you have any questions, the New Brunswick Food Security Action Network can connect you to other gardeners around the province who are happy to share their stories, too.