Tired of the same mundane routines each day? Tired of seeing the kids spending so much time playing video games sending text messages, or surfing the Internet? Then why not try something different. Get yourself and the kids out of the house and involved with something more worthwhile. Try your hand at community gardening.
Many neighbourhoods are going green nowadays, making use of vacant lots, and in some cases, rooftops. A community garden is a good way to not only get kids involved in something active and worthwhile like gardening, but also yourself and others too. And nothing improves the looks of an area quite like a beautiful garden, especially one in which people are working together.
Getting A Community Garden Started
To get started, put up flyers stating your idea for a community garden and asking for interested volunteers. Don’t forget to include contact information. Set up a meeting with all interested parties to discuss key points regarding the community garden. Designate a garden coordinator. Decide where to put the garden and obtain rights to land usage. Determine its purpose and its needs. Take up donations for the community garden or locate a local business, church, school, or other organisation that will sponsor it. This will help with supplies such as tools, seeds, and plants.
Also, think about the garden’s design and size. Plots can be marked with each gardener’s name and each can be responsible for his or her own plot or assign volunteers to work in shifts maintaining the garden in its entirety. Include additional spaces near the garden for storing tools and supplies, composting, and playing. Younger kids should have a separate play area with a garden plot just for them.
Working With Kids In The Community Garden
Kids can certainly reap rewards from a community garden. Getting kids involved with nature and the environment provides them with useful educational tools and important skills that they can carry throughout their lifetime, such as social and problem-solving skills and nutritional information. In fact, growing their own food in a garden gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment and actually increases the likelihood of eating foods they otherwise would not try.
While it’s easy to get adults involved in a community garden, gardening with kids might require some nudging, at first anyway. The best way to spark interest is to make the process as fun and easy as possible. Allow them to choose and plant what they want. There’s a plant out there for everyone, especially the kids.
Finding one that fits each unique personality should not be a problem. Supply them with plenty of seed catalogues and other gardening references (with pictures) so they can flip through them in order to find what they like. Once the kids know what they would like to grow, have them cut out the pictures and glue them to index cards. Attach these to ice lolly sticks. Make sure their names are on them as well, this way the kids will have a label specifically for their plant(s), especially if someone else grows the same kind.
A good way to encourage teamwork in the community garden is by pairing up older kids with younger ones. This also helps older kids develop a sense of responsibility. Assign age-appropriate gardening tasks. Always ask questions about their daily gardening activities and encourage them to keep a journal filled with anything relating to the garden and their plants.
A community garden creates unity through working together as a team. They are great for getting kids and other folks out of the house and busy doing something more constructive. A community garden can drastically improve an area’s appearance and provide a healthy outlet for stress. Community gardens are filled with a variety of plants, one suiting the individual needs of its own gardener. They may also be filled with a bounty of nutritious foods that can be sold within the local community as well. And best of all, the money can be put back into the garden for next year’s harvest.