Eartheasy Article on Natalie’s Community Gardening Work

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Click to read more: Eartheasy

Thank you to all the wonderful people I met from coast to coast who are creating community gardens and orchards. I am grateful for the time and information you shared with me.

See you in the gardens, Natalie

Lovely Afternoon at Pitney Meadows Community Gardens

Cafe Lena photoIt was wonderful to see some of you at the Cafe Lena concert at Pitney Meadows Community Gardens this afternoon.

Community Gardeners: What a treat to have live music while you work in your gardens, refreshments available and the fun of watching young children enjoy themselves in the sandbox.

This is the good life.

 

American Community Gardening Association Column for Community Gardeners

My first column for the American Community Gardening Association was published today in ‘The Cultivator.”

It is my hope that a dialogue will begin among the thousands of ACGA members as we share our experiences.

I hope you enjoy it.

Natalieprtraitshot

Ask Natalie

At ACGA we recognize that the collective knowledge of our members is our greatest asset.

And we know from your emails that you have interest in everything from the ground up, including issues such as soil quality, raising funds, supporting volunteers and building community.

There are concerns about what vegetables to grow, food justice, water purity and gardeners looking for tips on what makes a community garden sustainable in terms of the people involved, volunteer support, cost and garden practices.

To this end, we are launching this community gardening column.  The goal is to support each other by providing tried and true experience on what works.

Community gardeners can email questions and each month we will address different concerns, show you images of what other community gardens are up to, share successes and sage advice.

As a team we are supporting not only our own community but the network of community gardens that are our members.  We collectively have knowledge and know-how based on years of experience from all our garden members from Key West to Canada and from coast to coast.

As an organization, we are experts on this subject and can help one another. Each of us brings something to the table.

I am a journalist, horticulturist, Master Gardener and community garden creator.  In the past two years, I have traveled more than 15,000 miles from Maine to Hawaii talking with garden directors about their experiences.  I learned so much.

In the coming year, I’m hoping to share what I learned with you. Just as I am hoping you will share your stories with me.  How did you get started? If you were to start over again, what would you do differently? What tips do you have to share? What challenges have you faced? What do you consider your garden’s greatest success? Do you compost? Do you have any tips?

Even tips you may think of as small can have a big impact. For example, watering plots during the summer can be an issue. One clever gardener I met suggested that anyone who wasn’t going to be to able to water stick a blue colored stake in their plot to indicate they were away and asked their neighbors water for them.  It was a huge help to the gardeners. And an asset as neighbors helping neighbors builds community, friendships and trust.

I look forward to sharing dozens of other tips and answering your questions. Send your emails to: Natalie.walsh@communiygarden.org and look for answers in our monthly newsletter.

The actress Helen Mirren wrote that gardening is about “learning, learning, learning. That’s the fun of them. You’re always learning.”

This is an opportunity for us to learn from one another.

Thank you for sharing. I’m eager to hear from you.

Warmly,

Natalie Walsh, ACGA board member and an enthusiastic visitor of community gardens and orchards.

Building Garden Structures with Sticks and Saplings

Screen Shot 2019-01-17 at 9.16.05 AMThis is my idea of fun.

Patrick Doughtery, a carpenter and sculpture, is creating a huge stick sculpture at the Mounts Botanical Garden in Palm Beach County, Florida from truckloads of saplings.

Dougherty, who is based in North Carolina,  has created his Stickwork projects in Scotland, Japan, Brussels and all over the United States, including Cincinnati’s Taft Museum of Art.

I’m looking at this and thinking…Hmm. Can we scale this down and make a sapling sculpture in a community garden? What would you create?

A tunnel for hanging gourds? A playhouse? A secret room?

Has anyone made one? If so, let me know about it please! And send pictures!

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New Opportunity: American Community Gardening Association Board Member

NatalieprtraitshotHi everyone,

I’ve got news.

I was recently elected to the board of directors of the American Community Gardening Association.

Their mission is to build community by increasing and enhancing community gardening and greening across the United States and Canada.

It is my hope to work with others sharing our knowledge to create an ever stronger network of community gardens from coast to coast.  During my cross-country trips, I saw first hand how connecting people and linking our collective know-how helped with important issues such as food security and growing healthy organic produce following sound environmental practices.

There are great folks who are doing wonderful work in community gardens, improving quality of life with opportunities for better nutrition, recreation, exercise, job training, therapy and education.

Launching the Pitney Meadows community gardens was great.  In two short years we brought so many ideas to fruition. The gardens flourished. And while all we accomplished is great, getting to know the community was even greater.

You are a wonderful group and I am proud to have been part of the success from the butterfly garden, grandmother’s garden, the food donated to the pantries, the incredible growth, the adult and children education programs, the fairy festivals, the sunflowers and so much more.

I cherish the friendships created and couldn’t imagine not having you as part of my future. Let’s keep in touch as we continue this good work.

Natalie Walsh