Community Gardens: The Good, the Bad, and the Drama

Screen shot 2556-08-23 at 15.02.18

Community Garden artwork
Image: Karen Blakeman via Flickr CC

While perusing some of my favorite gardening blogs, I stumbled upon this article, “Why I would be kicked out of a community garden” by gardener and writer Elizabeth Licata. The entry provided me with many laughs, as well as got me thinking. I often write about the benefits of community gardens – how they offer many positive outcomes to neighborhoods that have them. These gardens provide food, allow for jobs, encourage sharing, and allow for community-building to take place in a common neighborhood space. They are good for local economies, and provide enjoyment for those who love to garden, as well as serve an important function in urban farming and education.

But as Licata points out in her comedic article, “There’s no drama like community garden drama.” As great as these gardens are, their very shared-space nature can provoke disputes and disagreements about a variety of different concerns. Licata jokes how she’d be kicked out of a community garden for a number of reasons, some of which include her attitude towards weeds, general aesthetics, the overall variance in opinions of food growers versus ornamental growers, as well as any outside forces that have the potential to disturb the community garden, like local government.

ardening doesn't have to be difficult. But it helps to have a teacher.

Community gardens are great, but they still aren’t for everyone.
Image: Shutterstock

A lot of points she made were ones that I never even considered. On the one hand, a community garden is great because with shared effort it can improve the community it’s part of. On the other, if you prefer your garden to be solely aesthetically pleasing (which many do), and find it less exciting to wait for vegetables to grow, then a community garden may not be for you. The beauty of gardening is that it means something different to every gardener. Licata mentioned that her love of some weeds alone would irritate others in a community garden setting; some folks aren’t as avid about weeding, while others cringe at the first sign of unwanted growth.

What do you think about community gardens? What are some other pros and cons?

For more hilarious and smart takes on gardening by Licata and other contributors, visit their online community at www.gardenrant.com.

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About Alex Holt

I am a local artist from Brooklyn, NY. I love art, design, books, photography, gardening and blogging.
This entry was posted in Community Gardens, Home Gardens, Public Places, Urban Farming and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Community Gardens: The Good, the Bad, and the Drama

  1. Robbie says:

    A great post. It happens in the city between property owners, too. One person loves their grass and can’t imagine why someone would want to grow food in their front yard or their entire backyard! They just think you are odd-lol. The problem is as you said above, “The beauty of gardening is that it means something different to every gardener”…people are all different, and when you put us close together problems will arise. Just like in any work place. People work differently. It really is not any different than a family living together. We have community gardens throughout our city, but some groups are arguing. I really don’t understand, but the nature of people is they just don’t always see eye to eye…so things like this happen. I think that can be a con not getting along, but learning to get along is a pro! People eventually do work out their differences over time and often times they learn from one another…that is how we grow.

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