Thursday, June 4, 2015

Urban Gardening

I feel very lucky to have access to such a strong community garden program here in Racine. The town I lived in in Illinois had a community garden, but only ten plots available for the entire city which came with a waiting list as long as my arm. The first two years I tried to participate, I didn't make it to the top of the waiting list. 

When I came to Racine, I looked for a garden and didn't expect to find much but was pleasantly surprised to find the Racine Urban Garden Network. What a great group of people! They have all of the characteristics I look for in a group - a great sense of humor, a purpose and organization. Where else could I go to a "Plotluck" to choose my plot for the year? The group serves the city of Racine and provides 10 locations from which to garden as well as several partner locations that are specific to the community served.

The RUGN works "to continuously provide people in Racine with the necessary education and tools to grow their own healthy food." They offer weekly workshops in the spring to help members get ready for planting, volunteer and community opportunities to network and improve the gardens for all users, The RUGN Facebook page is actively maintained and has information not only about the gardens and the network, but articles about urban gardening. 

Here is a link** to some books on urban gardening. This one: Mini-Farming: Self-Sufficiency on a 1/4 Acre** appeals to me. While I don't have any desire to go "off-grid", I do like the idea of producing more of what I and my family consume. I don't have enough of an understanding of how GMO's and mass-farming techniques impact us to feel wholly comfortable voting for those things with my spending.

If your city doesn't have a community garden, here is a checklist to get started as well as a start-up guide provided by the University of California Cooperative Extension in Los Angeles County.