A friend (thanks, Karin!) has been giving me “heads up” on several earth and people (I know, people are part of the earth, too) friendly things going on. I’m not going to talk about them here and now but will give links:
1. A six-story vertical garden on the facade of a children’s library in San Vicente, Spain
2. Front yard ‘microfarms’ in Boulder, Colorado
3. Here is an article about a “Back-yard Urban Garden” CSA (community supported agriculture) project in Salt Lake City.
I’ll let you check those links on your own but want to propose an idea that could happen anywhere. Have you looked around at all the open space in whatever town you live? Here in Orem, UT there is a lot of open space, vacant lots, unused right of way, etc. that could be used for community gardens, and that isn’t even considering back or front yard space!
Here’s another idea: What if all churches –I live in Utah and most of the church properties are LDS (Mormon) — instead of planting, watering and grooming the large spaces of grass that are typical around many meeting structures, use the space instead for gardens. The watering system could easily be converted to a drip system which would decrease water usage, and there would no longer be a need for mowing. The gardens would be taken care of by those using that building for church services, much as we now do for custodial work. It could be a place for ward/parish, family, youth, and scout service projects and the produce would be available for those in that particular congregation, with excess available for families in need, Bishop’s Storehouse, cannery, food bank, etc. In LDS wards, there are emergency preparedness, family history and compassionate service specialists (callings), why not gardening or food production specialist? It wouldn’t work for every ward or stake, especially in some urban settings where there isn’t the grassy area around the building, but in those where it would work, why not?
It seems to me that there are way too many positives that outweigh negatives. I realize that not everyone enjoys gardening but I think there are enough that do that it would work. I have had many youth groups ask if they could help me in my yard/garden as a service project so I’m sure they would be available for something like this. For those who do not like or are not able to help with the garden, as far as I’m concerned, you can still have some tomatoes and zucchini! The Little Red Hen story has merit in that it’s always good to help if you can, but there are some who just can’t, for whatever reason and just because someone doesn’t like gardening doesn’t mean the food should rot rather than share!
We put strong emphasis on self-sufficiency in our American/western/Utah/Mormon culture, but we also emphasize service, community, congregation and charity. This type of enterprise serves all those components — at least as I envision it. Gardening families like to put their own spin on the “A family that [gardens] together, stays together” and I think that it applies to the ward family, the neighborhood family, the human family as well.
I would really be interested in hearing what others think about the possibilities here.