Building Community by Gardening Together

by Catherine Haug

Community Gardens

When you garden as part of a community, you not only provide food for your table, but also food for your soul. Perhaps because of a return to healthful fresh foods, or because of the current state of the economy, community gardens are springing up all over the Flathead.

Kalispell Community Garden

This group is starting a container gardening project (kick-off event was April 25). See Kalispell Community Garden (ACGA site) or Who is Your Farmer (Farm Hands) for more info about this garden.

Nourish the Flathead

This is a non-profit organization in Whitefish, is starting with a community garden in Whitefish.  They can help you start a community garden in your neighborhood (Contact Diane Grove for more information; dianneg44(at); email disguised).  

St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church

ESP is assisting the church in Ferndale to develop a Community Garden on their property. This year will be busy readying the soil, fences and water for next year’s gardens (2010).  

For the 2009 growing season, the space will be planted with potatoes, because the deer don’t like them — this is important while the fencing is built.  A small pumpkin patch for kids is also contemplated, as well as cover crops to add nitrogen to the soil.

If you want to get involved this year, your sweat equity is very welcome, and will help pay for your plot next year.  Contact Michelle for more information (jlp3(at); email disguised)

Forging Friendships

The American Profile supplement to today’s Daily InterLake (April 27, 2009) included an article titled Community Gardens, Growing Fresh Produce and Friendships. Working together for a common goal, you:

  • Nourish your family, both physically and spiritually;
  • Forge new friendships;
  • Get to know wonderful people that you wouldn’t meet otherwise;
  • Can mentor children on the joy of growing your own food.  This is especially beneficial for Seniors, who may otherwise spend little time with children.

A Salina, Kansas low-income neighborhood joined together on vacant lots to plant a Peace Garden:

Everyone tends the flowers, vegetables and berries, and harvests what they want and need. …  After a long day, we can come here and relax.

The Peace Garden, with its picnic tables, volleyball net and open space, has become the neighborhood centerpiece year-round. Most residents don’t decorate their homes at Christmastime, but help string lights on the garden shed and rose arbors.

“The garden has changed the whole atmosphere of the neighborhood,” [one resident] says. “Children used to walk around this place, but now they walk through it. They’ll cut a rose and take it home to their mother; or when tomatoes are in season, they’ll take a snack home.”

[From the American Profile article]

Start Composting Now for Next Year’s Garden

If you are interested in being a part of St. Patrick’s Community Garden next year, start making compost now.  The soil for the plots will be augmented with compost; the more we make on our own, the less will be expended in purchase of commercial compost.

If you don’t already have a compost bin, but you have space for one, check out one of these simple methods and get started!

Or you can bring your compostables to a bin at the future community garden site.

ESP is planning a Composting Workshop, so watch this site for more information.

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