Living in an apartment building, I don’t have much space to grow veggies and herbs. Sure, I could grow a little window box of herbs on my balcony, but I can’t really do much more than that. That’s where my local community garden comes in. I can walk down to the other end of my apartment complex and plant, grow, and harvest to my heart’s content! Having a community garden so close to me makes me feel very fortunate. Here are some of the best benefits of using a community garden–take a look so maybe I can convince you to try it out, too!
Keeping it local
Part of the vegan ethos entails ethical production and consumption of food. What could be more ethical than planting your own veggies and herbs with members of your community and sharing them? The spirit of my community garden is such that you plant whatever you want and you can take a little bit of what other people are planting too. That’s great because it means that you don’t have to go overboard planting a million different kinds of herbs if you want a wide variety and you also aren’t limited to eating only tomatoes if that’s all you know how to grow. Your neighbors can take some of your tomatoes and you can take some of their rosemary and maybe you can even combine forces to make a delicious marinara sauce.
Organic produce at your fingertips
I’m sure every garden is different with regard to policies and practices, but my community garden forbids the use of chemicals. That means all our produce is organic and pesticide-free, which makes it even more delicious! You will want to check out the policies at your local garden before you get started planting.
You may pay for the seeds or seedlings, but those are very cheap. You may also have to pay a fee for using the space in the garden (I am fortunate because there’s no fee at mine!). However, growing veggies and herbs in a community garden really is dirt cheap (see what I did there?). All it takes is your tender loving care, water, and the right amount of sunlight and you’ll be basking in vegetable goodness in no time. This year I planted basil, bee balm, lavender, and a variety of tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, and okra. And it cost me practically nothing!
I love getting my hands dirty and getting creative, which working in my community garden really allows me to do. I took my hammer and nails, partitioned my plot into 12″ squares, and dug in. While gardening can be hard work (especially during the summer when it can get up to 100 degrees here), the community garden plot is a space where you can experiment and see the fruits of your labor truly blossom. Don’t be afraid of a little dirt–dig in and enjoy!
Photo: Samantha Lester