A while back I was pretty excited about getting a community garden plot for $20. A while later I was disappointed to learn that I was not fast enough in my signing up and I would not be getting a garden plot. I was pretty upset but I resigned to break CFHA rules and garden on my lawn. I prepared one bed and ran out of room so I have been in the process of collecting materials to make some raised garden beds and learning that creating a garden from nothing is a little bit expensive.
Since Ian became the president of our little living area, I seem to be hearing a lot more about what goes on around here. Last week I learned that our community garden was not so community, the allotment of plots has been poorly managed and at leats two other families were without plots.
People who do not live in this community have upwards of 2 garden plots each, one community dweller has 8 plots (that is 8000 sq ft of garden) and 5 plots have not been planted or paid for (they are on hold). I can't get a plot?
I am trying to learn how to garden and teach my son the origins of his food and the value of growing your own food. I thought that community gardens were about community and growing food for your family. Nobody living on this base needs 8000 sq feet of garden to grow food for their family. The people with 4 and 8 plots are selling at the farmers market; the organizer's children have a plot purely for the purpose of making a profit. All of that is fine when everyone who lives in this community who wants a garden plot has one. People who want to garden shouldn't be faced with having to pay to resod the yard when there is a community garden that should be able to acomodate them.
The fundraising done on this base and revenue from the Tim Horton's and the golf course fund this project. The $20 does not even begin to cover the water, tools and rototilling of the gardens. If people are growing food to make a profit at the market they should be subject to a higher rental cost per plot but that is a story for another day.
On Thursday Ian sent me a text message from work, he had signed me up for a gardening lecture at the community centre for 2pm. The lecture had a field component out in the community garden and I was hoping the oragnizer would be there.
I sat in the lecture scrutinizing the name tags of the male military members in attendance. I was looking for Cpl. Lange, the organizer of the community garden. After the lecture I approached him and introduced myself. I asked him about the system of awarding plots and learned he had decided to go with a first come first serve system as last year there were 20 plots left over. I understand that he wants full membership so the plots get tended but this community is a very transient one; the interest in programs will change drastically every year.
He really didn't seem moved or interested in talking about his management methods and the gardens are planted so there is really no going back now. I asked him to contact the members with the unpaid for plots and find out if any of them would be willing to give me their plot. It was a move that helped just myself but getting my foot in the door to the club will make it easier to bring up concerns about community garden management. How did I become such a community activist? It is so different from trying to save the world.
That ladies and gentleman is how I became the proud owner of 1000 sq ft of dirt called plot #56.
Now I have an excessive amount of garden to deal with, precious little time to plant it and not enough plants. It seems like I have the cheese/chips problem with the garden lately. Not enough garden too much to plant, too much garden........