Starting/Maintaining a Community Garden
The American Community Gardening Association describes a community garden as:
Any piece of land gardened by a group of people....it can be urban, suburban, or rural. It can grow flowers, vegetables or community. It can be one community plot, or many individual plots. It can be at a school, hospital, or in a neighborhood. It can also be a series of plots dedicated to 'urban agriculture' where the produce is grown for a market.
We've seen a marked increase of interest in community gardening in New Hampshire. Some folks want to connect with friends and neighbors, while others don't have access to land on which to garden. And, with economic hard times, more and more people are looking to reduce their grocery bills by growing food.
Visit the Food Growing Basics sections of this site for information about seeds, soil, planting, garden care, pest management, harvesting, food preservation, and food safety. Take advantage of UNH Cooperative Extension's toll free Info Line and our diagnostic services when you need help with horticultural problems.
This ever-expanding map of New Hampshire community gardening locations gives information about the gardens and contact people. Please email Charlie French if you have another garden to place on our map or if you want to make corrections to current information.
View our new publication written by UNH Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners entitled: Community Gardening in NH: From the Ground Up
Here's an excerpt: "The face of agriculture on New Hampshire’s landscape has constantly changed over the past three hundred years, having gone through numerous cycles of growth and decline. Settlement of Northern New England began in the 1600s with land grants from the King of England. By the 1700s there were many self sufficient farms. However, during the fifty years from 1820 to 1870, the focus shifted from multi-purpose agriculture operations to mainly raising sheep for wool. The wool market declined with the advent of cotton from the southern United States and the shifting of sheep farming overseas. Agriculture production moved to more fertile lands in the Midwest and South and the industrial revolution slowly changed the face of New England as weaving, shoe and firearm manufacturing."....continue reading.
In the following list of resources for people managing, or thinking about organizing, a community garden, we've relied heavily (and with gratitude) on the comprehensive Community Gardening Toolkit developed by the University of Missouri Cooperative Extension.
What is a community garden? General overview, types and characteristics of community gardens, common challenges.
Forming a Planning Committee You'll need one!
Starting a community garden Laying the foundation.
10 Steps to success with a community garden Moving forward from idea to action.
The benefits of community gardening The list may surprise you!
Questions your group should ask The answers will help you develop a practical plan.
Dig Safe State laws require anyone who digs to notify utility companies before starting. Digging can be dangerous and costly without knowing the locations of underground facilities.
Vandalism and other problems Workable solutions for problems that may arise.
Online resources and sample forms for garden organizers Expand your information base. Downloadable forms: budget, gardener application, gardener guidelines, land-use permission.
Starting a non-profit organization General information on starting a nonprofit to oversee your community gardening project.
Getting liability insurance General information on why you need it and how to get it.
Photo credits: Top, Janice Stillman. Used with permission. Bottom left, Kathy Martin, Skippy's Vegetable Garden, Used with permission.