Community gardens are parcels of land divided into small plots for local residents to grow their own flowers, fruit and vegetables. Community gardens owe their existence to the energy of residents. Vancouver residents may remember the debate in the late 1980's over a section of community garden on Prior Street in Strathcona. When City Council finally decided to build housing on the section, gardeners and their friends moved an acre of topsoil to the remaining portion of the garden. Today the Strathcona Community Garden's three acres of reclaimed land is a thriving collection of individual flower and vegetable plots.
Community gardens often sprout on empty lots owned by the city. The Victory Gardens of World War II were created on the empty strips of land next to railway tracks.
Finding a site for the garden can be a long search, but once the garden is in place, there is always a waiting list of people who want to join. The plots are often 100 to 120 square feet, and rent for a small annual fee. Gardeners share common space, fertilizer, tools, a tool shed, and sometimes the cost of buying plants. Grants usually help to cover other expenses such as the cost of metered water and public liability insurance. Gardeners meet several times over the growing season, once for a formal start-up, then a few times over the summer for informal pot luck dinners and an annual open house.
The Troublemaker's Teaparty is an updated and expanded print version of The Citizen's Handbook. It contains all of The Handbook plus additional material on preventing grassroots rot, strategic action, direct action and media advocacy. You can get a copy of The Teaparty from bookstores, Amazon or New Society Publishers.