By 2050, Earth’s population is expected to rise to 10 billion, while the resources on the planet continue to shrink. Researchers in the Netherlands are experimenting with one way to feed more people with less: growing crops indoors. NewsHour Weekend’s Ivette Feliciano takes a look at how indoor farming could shift our relationship with food.
Another community garden success story. — Douglas
Two short years ago, the backyard of Waynesville’s Grace Church in the Mountains was basically just grass, save for a single container bed at the top of the hill.
These days, the view is quite different. Six long container beds stretch out along the slope from the road to the church’s back door. A scaffolding that held a tent of beans during the warmer months stands to the side, and at the bottom of the hill is yet another group of raised beds, built high at the end of a flat walkway so that people with mobility issues can still access and enjoy them. There’s a toolshed, a gaggle of scarecrows and two in-ground beds dug directly into the land.
It’s the home of the Grace Giving Garden.
“We decided, ‘We have this land. It’s just growing grass. Why do we have to grow grass?’” said Emily Chatfield-Lusto, who co-facilitates the garden along with fellow Master Gardeners Jim Geenan and Mary Alice Lodico.
So, they got to work — making plans, making beds, making connections. All the produce grown there, they decided, would help feed the more than 200 families that use the church’s food pantry. But now, the produce goes to more homes than just 200.
“It just sort of took off,” Chatfield-Lusto said. “This year we decided, ‘Why don’t we reach out to different community organizations and see if they want to come garden with us?’”
An interesting study of Community Gardens and their impact on their communities. — Douglas
The purpose of this study is to gain a better understanding of how community gardens can catalyze positive change in an urban environment, to determine and catalog the impacts, and to learn about their importance to small-scale agricultural production. The study surveyed neighbors of the two umbrella organizations community gardens, The Nuestras Raices of Holyoke and Growing the Community of Springfield, who strive to ensure that local families gets enough food to feed their families on a daily basis.
This story was recently discovered by one of our CTG board members. This new Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone Initiative could be a great benefit to many neighborhoods in providing fresh produce. — Douglas
Most recently, they worked with L.A. City Councilmember Curren Price to pass a new initiative that aims to connect land owners in possession of vacant lots with residents ready and able to grow produce. The Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone Initiative, approved by the City Council at the end of June and slated to take effect August 6, is an attempt to encourage farming while also addressing the demoralizing eyesores of overgrown and underused lots.
The initiative dictates that property owners who lease their “vacant or unimproved property” to food growers can in return receive state tax benefits. The lot being leased must be between 0.10 acres and three acres in size and be dedicated entirely to agriculture. The property owner also has to sign an agreement with the city to maintain operations for at least five years.
“An initiative like this is exciting because it gives individuals a chance to really be more proactive,” Price says.
A great combination of art, science, nature and community garden. Perhaps you could adopt something similar for your own garden? — Douglas
Two bat boxes have been installed at the Dr. John Wilson Community Garden in conjunction with the Black Mountain Center for the Arts “The Beauty of Bats” awareness event. The boxes were donated by Sue Cameron, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services.
Bat houses offer a safe environment for hundreds of bats. Due to habitat loss, bats need safe places to roost during the day and to raise their young. Most bats have only one pup a year, which means populations are slow to grow. These two houses at the community garden mean neighborhood bats will remain safe and warm.
As with last year’s chimney swift towers, the arts center, the town of Black Mountain and its Recreation and Parks Department were instrumental in the construction and placement of the boxes.
One community garden’s story…
As Labor Day arrives, the plots are not thickening at the Jefferson Street Oasis Garden.
They are thinning as gardeners reap their final harvests of beets, broccoli, cabbage and collard greens; cantaloupe, corn, cucumbers and green beans; kohlrabi and okra; and potatoes, tomatoes, watermelon and zucchini.
And so the sixth season of the acre-and-a-quarter community garden behind the Gopher Dome at the former site of St. Mary’s Catholic Church on Springfield’s West Side will conclude like the first five.
That means it was yet another year of growth for the gardeners, who are allotted free plots to work, and their plants.
Adriel Jones, a 33-year-old whose run-in with cancer “made me choosy about what I put in my body,” was “all in” earlier this year when she heard about the free garden space from her sister Courtney, who works at the Clark County Public Library.
There several great ideas that could be adopted by other community gardens including building bird boxes to attract wildlife to your garden. — Douglas
Community garden, balsham bashing and litter: NAWRA’s successful year
The annual general meeting of NAWRA, the Newlay and Whitecote Residents’ Association, took place recently at the Abbey Inn, writes JILL BUCKLEY. It provided members with an opportunity to reflect on what they had achieved over the past year.
Since July 2016 huge progress has been made on the community garden; previously an eyesore it has now been transformed into a practical and well-tended green space.
newlay and whitecote community garden
Volunteers hard at work on the Newlay and Whitecote community garden. Photo courtesy NAWRA
But this isn’t the only activity which has kept NAWRA volunteers busy in Newlay and Bramley over the past 12 months.
At the end of 2016 volunteers planted another 800 daffodil bulbs in the area, bringing the grand total number of bulbs planted to 12,000. There have also been litter picks and a balsam bashing session in July, which is designed to protect the bluebell woods.