Can a community garden feed the world? We at the Forest Park Community Garden feel that they can. Or at least feed our neighbors, and feed them in a way everyone deserves.
But first, a little background on what a community garden is.
There are as many styles of community gardens as their are people on this planet. Our Forest Park community garden is more along the lines of the traditional allotment garden popularized by the British. Interested gardeners join the garden and rent plots (allotments) and grow the food they are most interested in. The majority of the Forest Park Community Garden is made up of local residents who lack space in back and front yards to grow vegetables that require 8 or more hours of sunlight.
In addition, as part of our garden’s mission we have a certain number of plots within the community garden that members tend for the purposes of donating produce to the Forest Park Food Pantry located inside the Forest Park Community Center. We also plant, maintain, and harvest the Giving Garden outside of the fence of the community garden. Residents are invited to help themselves to fruits, vegetables and herbs planted in the Giving Garden. We also harvest from this garden area and donate to the food pantry.
A recent story on the Forest Park Review covered a generous donation and planting at the Giving Garden. We were happy to see a vigorous discussion stemming from a comment about whether people who utilize food pantries are interested in fresh produce. We know from experience – both personally and from overseeing FPCG – that they very much do. I think our neighbors might be surprised to know the extent to which the resource that is the food pantry is utilized.
Last year our youth garden program regularly donated food for the food pantry, and we were shocked to learn at the time that there were 70 families registered with the Forest Park Food Bank. Yes, that’s right. 70 families in Forest Park are food insecure and have their meals supplemented by the work of the food bank.
Call us foolish, but we want to live in a community where everyone has access to a delicious tomato in the summer. A crisp and refreshing salad, and sweet carrots freshly pulled from the earth. We don’t think it’s nonsense to want to feed people with produce from the garden. We think it’s downright neighborly. If you are interested in learning more or if you’d like to help your neighbors and get your hands dirty, we invite you to come on down for one of our volunteer days. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.