A Sustainable Way of Gardening: Community Gardens
A Sustainable Way of Gardening: Community Gardens
Seattle, Portland, Long Beach, St. Paul, Honolulu, San Jose, Baltimore, Washington D. C. , Anchorage, and Louisville. These are the top ten cities that have the most community gardens. A sustainable community garden is when a group of people in a certain neighborhood or community come together and create a garden using tools that don’t affect the earth in a bad way. Individuals participating in a community garden usually use push reel mowers, rain water, mulch etc. The community usually acts as one to help sustain the garden and help the garden to grow to create produce that is natural to the environment to consume what is grown.
What this does is that the garden makes the economy a little better in terms of money usage. If the planting is right, the produce will most likely be good. Gardens contain plants as well as nutritious types of food. These types of planting must be watched closely, watered daily, and sunlight must be efficient. Most people would think that gardening is an easy job, but gardening is most definitely hard. Individuals participating in community gardening all should have certain roles. One must turn over the compost, water the plants, mow the lawn, watch over the plants, etc.
These are some roles that one must pay attention to because if one thing goes wrong, the whole garden will most likely suffer. Community gardening takes plenty of work. I learned this through several weeks of working in a community garden with Roland Quitugua, an agriculturalist. He has taught me several things that are important for working in a sustainable community garden, which I will showcase in this paper. There are many benefits to working a sustainable community garden. First of all, working in a community garden can be beneficial for households that have low income.
Individuals gardening can plant taro, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, many different kinds of fruits and vegetables. Community gardens also help with social development by having to interact with a diverse group of individuals. This is not to be certain, but not everyone is from the same cultural and ethnic background. With a diverse group of people, individuals may learn different cultures values. These community gardens help educate the public about how much pollution and wastes there are in the world and environment in which people are currently living in.
To help with the air pollution, gardens also restore oxygen into the air and help reduce air pollution. Gardening is also an active activity. Everyone needs at least one hour of exercise each day to maintain a healthy way of living. The physical activity of gardening is not only planting or watering. In a sustainable community garden, people use mulch, compost, reel mowers, nets and many other things to maintain its sustainability. Using rain water is a very smart way of watering the variety of green in the garden. By using rain water, you are preventing certain types of chemicals to destroy the plant or vegetable you are gardening.
Some might assume that gardening is boring and easily done. From experience, gardening is somewhat challenging. Mr. Quitugua had us garden every Wednesday from 8:30-10:30. Doing this, I have learned that the challenges consist of the type of weather we are going to be blessed or cursed with. To turn the compost, individuals would definitely need some sort of muscle ability. Also, when planting any type of fruit, vegetable or plant, one must be mindful of pests or bugs. What comes with pests and bugs are diseases that will cause whatever that is growing to wilt and die.
Wind directions are also a challenge. When planting something, always remember to balance the plant by knowing which direction the wind is blowing. Another issue with having a community garden is a lack of communication. Some people might overdo one task not knowing that that certain task was already accomplished. When overdoing a task the plant could be overwatered or not watered enough thus helping to destroy the plant. Gardeners must also be aware of the different soil conditions in the different areas in which the garden will be.
If gardeners are not aware, whatever they are planting will not grow sufficiently or may get lost in the weeds if not daily monitored. For example when planting green beans or onions, these tend to get lost in the weeds and eventually die. Therefore, kills the purpose of having a sustainable food production. What is sustainable food anyways? Sustainable food is food that is produced with lack of energy that pollutes the air, harms animals, is humane etc. Basically, food that is produced from planting. What I mean by this is the product of sweet potatoes, tomatoes, taro, etc.
This type of food production also ties into the health of a community and island sustainability. Sustainable food of course is connected with community gardens due to the production of food locally. The health of a community ties in when socially interacting with people of diverse cultures. When interacting with divergent cultures and values, what the community is doing is helping the people of Guam live in a sustainable island. What I mean by this is all this sustainability happening in the island will eventually, at some point in time, become very natural.
The more people that join to help make a community garden, especially a sustainable one, the more voices will be heard and action to take place. With Guam being westernized, people tend to follow what other people do. So when a group of individuals take part in participating in a community garden, eventually more people would want to commit and be a part of this social prolonged event. If ever conducting a community garden, individuals would have to set a venue. What I would do is set the venue at the village’s community center so that locating the garden would be easier.
Most people would know where and would have a schedule as to when to show up and do their part. This type of community gardening could also be used for service learning for the high schoolers in need of hours. For conducting this event, there should be a committee and not only one person having to handle all of the responsibilities. This committee would need to contact soil companies and find productive ways to obtain mulch and planting seeds. There should be one individual keeping track of what is being planted so there is not an excess of one plant or vegetable.
These different committees could all be in charge of watering, planting, compost, etc. That way, everything being planted will be well organized. Committees will also be able to switch so that they don’t get used to just doing one certain task that way they will not get bored. I had some challenges with working in the community garden due to not having any type of knowledge as to what a sustainable community garden was. From working with Roland Quitugua, he has taught me the basic ways of having a garden if not a community garden.
One hassle was having to wake up very early only to sweat and get a tan that was most likely darker than the week before. Having this activity for two hours really strengthened my ability to wake up early enough. Now that I have the basic knowledge of how to plant and when to plant has made me give some advice to my aunties and grandmother. Learning from my experience, maintaining a garden is hard work let alone a sustainable one, which takes a lot of hard work. Having to push the reel mower, turn the compost, making sure there is enough mulch for the plants, and watering the right way.
I’ve learned the basic ways of maintaining a garden and using my knowledge to help my family maintain theirs. Maintaining a garden may seem easier to others than to other individuals. Gardening takes time, work, and effort and of course many sources and connections to obtain certain plants and tools. Gardening has many benefits and disadvantages. A sustainable way of living is more efficient to the earth and global warming rather than using so much energy that pollutes the air. Running a sustainable garden can take months and months of hard work to get the garden to look the way you want.
You must learn the tricks and trade of having a successful one. Not everything you assume will come out the way you hoped, but having a sustainable garden will really help the environment and people on earth. Paul Newman once said “We are such spendthrifts with our lives, the trick of living is to slip on and off the planet with the least fuss you can muster. I’m not running for sainthood. I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer, who puts back into the soil what he takes out. ”
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 1 December 2016
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