We started the process of creating a community garden by checking out ones that are already established and learning what has worked and not worked so well. Some rented out plots to those interested for a fee while other spaces had a more communal feel. It seems that the gardens are often neglected and sometimes vandalized. While we found some inspiration and ideas for structural set up and different ways of operating, we decided that a full blown garden was a large bite to chew and breaking down the concept into smaller parts, such as raised bed installations and hyper-local learning gardens, may work better to start. With struggles to find usable space with access to water, we turned to the idea of working with already established organizations such as schools and community centers . Then Covid-19 became a considerable issue and social distancing as well as closures affected the new plan. In response, we started growing with what we had in the spaces currently available to us. I apologize for my original plan falling through, but together I believe we can continue to grow and accomplish the mission of creating a healthier, more sustainable, and more connected community through sharing passion and knowledge for growing food. I will dedicate more time and specifically do better at staying in touch and updating our ChangeX site. We plan on implementing more gardens in the Goodyear area in the coming months, and hopefully will be able to connect in person with more people as time goes on.
Possible projects such as seed starter kits and raised garden beds at senior centers are in the works!
Please reach out if you are ready to actively participate and/or if you have knowledge and skills that are of value to this group. That includes knowledge of gardening, but also I need help with the social skills of bringing people together (physically or virtually!) and regular communications so we can gain and maintain momentum as a group.
If you feel like you don't have much to contribute, I am so happy you are here! This is a space for connecting and learning. Please drop a message and I look forward to the engagement.
P.S. If you had a "quarantine garden" this year, let's see it! Harvesting your own food is an incredible experience and the whole process is so stress relieving. It makes for a healthy escape and something to keep your mind and body busy with all this sitting at home.
Let's talk soon!
I went and looked at the existing Goodyear sponsored garden with one of the original members and found there were limitations set by the City that made it difficult to operate. I applaud the City's effort to help get the garden started but the timed drip irrigation (no hoses or freedom to use water as needed) and some other factors made it difficult to utilize. There was also no place to store tools and the garden was extremely susceptible to vandalism which had occurred several times. It was also quite small. I have access to a large space behind a church to start a garden but it will have to be self funded as the City has no way to sponsor a garden on private property at this time. The initial costs will include a privacy fence between the garden and the church, a shed for tools, and of course the grow beds. The garden members would also need to compensate the church for water used. So I think the next step is to get some funds together through member support or a private sponsor. I welcome any comments or suggestions at this point.
I have been in communication with the City of Goodyear concerning sponsorship of a new community garden. While they have been very responsive and helpful it is unlikely that they will be able to help us at this time because they have already sponsored a garden at the De Paz Park near Dysart Road and Van Buren. I am going to visit this garden with one of the founders this weekend. As I understand it this garden has experienced mixed success due to lack of participation and vandalism. I have some ideas for creating a garden on private property and I'm currently looking at the costs of water and liability insurance. It is the belief of the individual that I spoke with at the City that they will only be able to sponsor a garden that is on public property.
I am going to contact the City this week and see if they are interested in sponsoring a garden. Much time has been wasted and we are missing the opportunity to get raised beds installed and ready before our planting season arrives. If anyone here has any insights concerning grants or sponsorships to fund this project please let us know. This can be a fantastic opportunity for everyone who is interested but it will take some real initiative to get this going.
We are excited as a newly formed group of like-minded individuals to get our community garden up and running. It being the beginning of summer in the desert we are definitely in planning stages before we will be planting anything.
We have so far rounded up a group of nearly 50 individuals on our neighborhood app who have shown interest in participating in this project. A dozen or so of them have joined on the ChangeX sight, and hopefully more will sign up there soon for continued communications and group discussions.
We will find a local meeting spot and have regular set meeting times so that people can plan ahead to attend, in order for everyone's voices to be heard, and ideas to be hashed out.
We will look at other local gardens and projects similar to ours and see different approaches for longer sustainability. Some of these include renting out private plots, and others include donations and local funding. We will explore to our best ability the possibility of creating a small market to sell our harvest to reinvest the proceeds. Other ideas include hosting events such as how to compost and other similar classes, or allowing related crafts to be sold to raise funds. Our initial seed funding will be put to use in securing a place for our garden, purchasing building materials to build garden beds, soil to fill the beds, and then of course seeds and/or plant starts, and tools necessary. A large consideration for our project in our area is the demand for water and our limited access to it. This will likely be our highest ongoing cost.
The idea of this project in our community has created a lot of buzz, and people are excited to have something like this close to home to participate in. Though there are other gardens in the state, there are very few nearby in the West Valley. Our climate is extreme and unique, and many people were not born and raised here, but have moved here and want to grow, but are not quite sure how to deal with our seasons. It can be intimidating, but many people are interested, so working together is a perfect opportunity for those who know to teach those wanting to learn. We intend to make our garden family friendly, but also hope to begin little satellite gardens, such as a small raised bed at a local elementary school to make it even more accessible.