We're a few years into the community garden boom now in metro-Atlanta. If you haven't been part of it yet, you may be wondering if there's a way to get involved. The challenge? You don't really have any interest in gardening, or you don't have time or money to spare, or you have physical limitations or childcare responsibilities, or (insert your own perceived barrier to participation here).
I have good news for you. You can be involved with a community garden on your own terms. Here are some ideas to get you thinking. First of all, determine the level of involvement you want, then:
1. Keep it simple. Do you just want to stroll through the garden and enjoy it during your morning walk? Most gardens are very welcoming to visitors and are happy you are appreciating the oasis they created. Show them some love and say hello, give a compliment or two, leave your dog outside the garden, and take any trash you have with you. If you feel like it, it's always nice to offer to help with something, even if it's just for ten minutes or simply holding open a gate for a gardener with a wheelbarrow.
2. Help out on a team. If you want to get more involved but don't necessarily want to become a member or take care of your own plot, ask if there are any teams with which you could help occasionally, such as Team Chicken at the Wylde Center's Oakhurst Garden location, or on a compost team or team growing food for those in need, which many gardens have.
3. Put your business skills to work. Let garden leaders know about any specialized skills you may be willing to offer. Gardens often need help with marketing, fundraising, grant writing, legal issues, and accounting. Also, there always seems to be something that needs to be built or repaired. Engineering-types may be just who is needed to get that aquaponics or rain harvesting system up and running, or to help build a hoop house for winter growing (such as in the photo above). Looking for a board of directors position? You may be surprised how easily you can find yourself in that role! The experience you gain and share in these volunteer capacities can even help you in your job by sharpening your skills and broadening your network. (See more business ways to get involved with gardens here.)
Who knows? You may be the perfect person to write the garden blog, serve as the resident photographer, or establish relationships with local restaurants to compost their food waste. And you may never even have to get your hands dirty gardening.
Find out more tips about all aspects of gardening at www.farmerd.com.