Friday, June 10, 2011

Community Garden Success!

I'm happy to announce that the LeMars Garden has officially opened for planting. :-D A little late in the season, but 1st year hiccups are going to happen.
The effort was started by a group of women at the LeMars Bible Church here in town. Led by a great gal named Sue, they coaxed a bit of land from the church and got it disked. They got in touch with the Garden Coordinator in the city just north of us, and since I too had been in touch with her, she pointed them in my direction. Yay for networking!
It is a great match, (even if they do tsk-tsk over my pagan-athiest status.) They need someone with energy to spare and experience in community garden startups, I need more planting room and really want to get a community garden started.
We only have 8 plots this year, and so far 7 are taken. If the last one doesn't have a gardener we're thinking we may do a communal plot of corn.
I'm excited to finally have something concrete to work on/with. I knew as soon as I moved here that I wouldn't feel like a member of the community until I had given something back. I knew that I wanted that to be a community garden. Finding the time to make it to the Tuesday 11am city council meetings was proving impossible, so teaming up with the church has been a welcome windfall. I know others out there who are trying to get similar projects started, so in the interest of passing along info, I'd like to talk about some of the how/when/where's of the project to date.

8 plots makes it, by far, the smallest community garden I've ever worked with. :-) Which is both a positive and a negative. On the plus side, for novices to the community garden system, (which most of these ladies are) smaller makes it easier to keep track of what's going on, and who's doing what. Smaller does mean there are fewer people doing the work though. With the gardens in Des Moines, we knew we could count on 15-30 people who were serious and would show up for work days and meetings and such, here we have 4 or 5 people.

I'm trying to offer my help, insight and experience, without turning this into a Des Moines community garden. I love and miss them, but this garden is not going to be anything like them. Sue had browsed through dozens of garden applications, and pulled the parts she liked from them into the application and guidelines that she presented to the garden board. I did have a lot of suggestions for her, some of which she took and incorporated in, some of which may get incorporated in later and some of which she left on the table. :-) Mostly it was little things, like instead of saying, "If your plot is untended for too long, the garden board will reassign it," I suggested she put a discrete time frame on it, so gardeners know they can't leave it for more than 2 or 3 weeks, but an absence of a few days isn't an issue. Other topics included a fee for the plots, work days, garden monitors (this one was new to me, but I generally liked the idea,) perennials and compost.

There's the gist of the thing. It's been fun meeting more ladies in town. Rowen of course, being his usual charming self made friends with all of them. I have one of the plots, and I have squash vines planted already. My plan is to bike the mile there once a week or so to weed/water. So everything that goes into that plot has to be hardy enough to handle the mild neglect. Hopefully it works out well.

I'll leave y'all today with a recent bit of writing by Aaron Newton, a response to the question, "What is the peak oil community NOT talking enough about?" I feel his words capture my feelings towards local involvement and making changes happen close to home.


“I have set aside any hope of a meaningful response to energy descent or climate change in the United States at the federal or state level, which means international action will continue to be ineffectual as well. I feel this sentiment has set in among many of those who keep up with these issues. I now follow the developments of peak oil in the same way I follow baseball, as a pastime. I am interested in whether or not monthly total liquids production has in fact eclipsed the all time high of July 2008 in the same way I occasionally check to see if the Phillies are still leading the NL East.

I now spend very little time on awareness in regards to people that have no idea about these issues; turning down invitations to speak to such groups and avoiding the topic at cocktail parties. Instead I spend time with those people working on plans for regional and local responses to the future in a world with less of everything available to us. I’m telling people that sure, it is interesting and somewhat useful to continue to follow the saga of peak oil and climate change but that they should spend the lion’s share of their time on actionable projects with a bullseye mentality of home, community and region and not to worry too much about what happens outside a 25 mile radius of their home.”


Jess said...

What an awesome accomplishment!

Jon Lorisen said...

That's great!

Jennie said...

Thanks guys! I'm excited to see it get off the ground.
I love new gardens, there's so much potential. :-)
I'm hoping everything goes smoothly.

Jennie said...
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