Spotlight on Raleigh: Community Gardens, Just Getting Started

>> Thursday, March 19, 2009

My mom loves to get her hands in the dirt. Until I was a teenager, she always kept a big backyard garden, from which we preserved jars and jars of fruits and vegetables for year-round consumption. I have bountiful memories of hoeing and planting and weeding. Tomatoes straight off the vine, peas fresh from the pod, and bright cheery sunflowers watching over it all.

When I was in college and people would ask how my boring summer job at a factory was going, I would reply, "It's kind of like snapping beans." If you've ever snapped beans, you know just what I mean...

Gardening is in my genes, so I've always intended to have a garden. But in my adult life, I have lived in one dorm, one house, one townhouse, and four apartments. Six out of seven of those have been rental properties, and only the house had a yard. I dream about the day when I'll have my very own yard, but I don't know how near in the future it's going to happen, and I'm tired of waiting.

Thus began my search for a community garden...

Unlike other points on the Triangle (which is really more of a deformed hexagon), Raleigh seems to be sadly lacking in the community garden category. Durham has Durham SEEDS. Carrboro has their Community Garden Coalition. Chapel Hill has the Northside Community Garden and the Carolina Garden Co-op. But not Raleigh...

Six Google searches over six months finally led me to the "Raleigh Community Gardens Meetup Group." So far, the group is still in an organizational stage, but I've been impressed at the quality and quantity of start-up gardens being planned in the area. There's buzz about various gardens in the planning phase all over Raleigh.

Through the meetup group, I also discovered an organization called Advocates for Health in Action, "a group of diverse organizations and community members who are shaping the environment throughout Wake County so healthful eating and physical activity are the way of life." They are developing a page on community gardens as part of their site that will include a map of all the community gardens, CSAs, farmer's markets, and pick-your-own farms in the area.

Stay tuned for more information about community gardens planned for the Raleigh area. In the meantime, if you're in the middle of starting up a community garden in Raleigh, be sure to join the meetup and send your needs to Katherine, who's compiling a list, or send the info to the Advocates for Health in Action to be included on their page.

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