What are community gardens you ask? Community gardens are, “public greenspaces that are cooperatively planned and maintained by local residents for the benefit of the entire community. Community gardens are a low-cost, barrier-free form of recreation that fosters physical activity, positive social interaction, environmental awareness and an opportunity to grow fresh, organic produce. Community gardens are inter-generational, multicultural places that integrate many aspects of sustainable community development” (a great definition courtesy of www.ottawa.ca).
Every single community garden is different. Most are volunteer driven and food goes to either: farming families, local food pantries, or immediate residents. In many urban areas they are standard practice and sometimes they are the only source of nutritious, local food for those living in that area. For those interested, the People's Garden program spans the nation. To find one in your area or for more information visit http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=PEOPLES_GARDEN.
For Tulare County they are surprisingly new and despite the fact that we are surrounded by agricultural, many residents do not always have regular access to healthy, fresh, locally grown food. The People’s Gardens of Tulare County wants to change all that by empowering people to grow their own food using sustainable methods.
The People’s Gardens of Tulare County are a result of a partnership between the Tulare County Resource Conservation District (RCD) and the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). Various staff (soil conservationists, agricultural engineers, etc) have pooled their talents and resources to offer a wide range of services free of charge to the public. Yes, I said free, as in nada, nothing, don’t even open your wallet. Why? Because they can and because they know community gardens build community.
So what does this mean for you? It means that if you have even the slightest interest in either establishing a community garden, working a plot as part of community garden, creating a school garden, or turning a desolate space into a rain garden or wildlife friendly landscape, you can. And you won’t have to do it alone or all with your own resources.
“We can do whatever needs to be done,” said Project Manager Teri Van Huss. “We’re just here to help.”
From liability insurance to irrigation, finding a manager for the garden or equipment needs, help with school gardens or mapping an area, the People’s Gardens of Tulare County have the resources and the knowledge to transform barren landscapes into fully producing community gardens. They’ve already done this in Visalia with Goathead Garden, located at 932 N. Leslie Street. The garden took root in April and is the first major project by the People’s Gardens of Tulare County.
The People’s Gardens of Tulare County hold informational meetings the fourth Friday of every month from 1 to 3 p.m. at the USDA Service Center in Visalia, 3530 W. Orchard Court. For more information call 622-0378 or visit www.tularecountyrcd.com/People_s_Garden.html
Click on pictures below to go to linking sites.