Bring Some Community to your Community Gardening
The Community Garden Program strives to provide gardeners with all the resources, tools, and knowledge they need to grow a bunch of great food for themselves, their families, and their friends. We offer the physical space, educational workshops, a stocked tool shed, access to water and compost, as well as distribute seeds and starts for folks to get things rolling. All of these efforts aim to make sure that individual gardeners can succeed in their own individual plots.
Another huge goal of ours is to encourage and offer opportunities for folks to "dig in" outside of their personal plots, and become more connected to the greater garden community. As a program, providing the necessities for growing vegetables is pretty straight-forward, but fostering community at our gardens can be pretty tricky...
Missoula's Community Gardening is Different
We recently placed a new and enthusiastic gardener off our wait-list to take the reigns of a plot mid-season. Right off the bat, she explained that she was part of a community garden here in the past, moved away and really missed it. It wasn't the food that she would take home or the resources that were provided, but the garden conversations, recipes, tips, the people, and the opportunity to contribute to the greater garden. She was excited to regain the community of community gardening again.
While chipping in and engaging with your garden can be personally rewarding, it's also crucial for garden function. Without active and dedicated gardeners, our communal areas go awry, compost gets stinky and unproductive, and overall garden functionality suffers. Luckily, we have a number of amazing and active gardeners who invest more than their fair share toward their gardens. From our dedicated leadership committee members to the anonymous gardener who bring out their mower or weed whacker to maintain a communal area, our gardens couldn't function without this community support.
We understand that everyone's busy. Simply making the time to maintain our own plots can be challenging enough. That said, we encourage you to get to know your fellow gardeners, ask for help when you need it, and make the time to delve a little deeper into your greater garden. Go ahead. Give it a try. I don't think you'll regret it.
How to Get Involved
Attend a work party or a garden potluck, weed or water some of the communal areas around you, clean up garden clutter or a messy tool shed, or simply spend a few minutes talking to some fellow gardeners the next time you are out. If you don't know how to help, a leadership committee member will be happy to guide you. If you are feeling really ambitious, talk to your leadership team about joining the garden committee or becoming an official garden mentor - we are always recruiting more garden leaders!
Check out these photos below that show the community at our gardens (Looks fun, right?!) and leave us a comment below about what you love about YOUR community garden.