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Nickel & Dimed Community Garden Style

  • Subject: [cg] Nickel & Dimed Community Garden Style
  • From: SDHC@aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 17 Apr 2003 20:34:31 EDT

I have read Nickel & Dimed and have also had some experience trying to get a community garden going along the border - but in San Diego County.  I do believe the two experiences are related since in the book she writes about her experiences in the urban workforce where many people find themselves working very hard for very little reward and sometimes it seems that trying to get a community garden started feels like a lot of work for very little reward.  Fortunately, her book was a short term experience and most community gardening is a commitment to at least the first harvest time if not the next planting year and beyond. 
Community gardening does increase the amount of healthy food available to poor people, but in reality too many of them are working at the sorts of jobs that require most of their time and energy. This was the problem I had when trying to start up a community garden a few years ago.  People were just too busy trying to get by to make the commitemtn needed to get a community garden going. Here in San Diego, many of the working poor have more than one low paying job just to get by and that does not allow time for planting, weeding, watering, chatting with "neighbors" and all the other things we gardeners enjoy about community gardens. 
Today, I find that many of the community gardeners that participate in the TiJuana River Valley community garden are retired and live nearby. Some of them once worked as migrant farmers by the way.  Most of the gardeners seem to have extended family members to help out as needed - and some of those are little ones who are just learning to grow things they can eat. 
This year I am encouraging all of the gardeners to plant a little extra that they can share with the local emergency food organizations so those who are too busy to plant can still enjoy the harvest.

Michele Delehanty, consultant
San Diego Hunger Coalition
FAX 619-427-6527

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