A Community Garden is where plots of land are provided at no cost to residents in an open location. The Norristown Community Gardens are in the State Hospital grounds. The advantage for gardeners is that you get more space (or, at least, more sunny space) than you might have at home, plus a chance to glean advice from the more experienced gardeners with plots near you. The downside is, you can't just go out to your backyard to water your garden or weed or pick tomatoes whenever its convenient. You have to make time to go work the garden every day, and lug your tools with you. Still, it's a great way to grow some produce for your family or, possibly, for local food pantries. The West End Association administers the site. New gardeners are welcome, on a first-come, first-served basis. If you might be interested for next year, check out their website. They have an open group on Facebook, too, and I recommend it for anyone with a veggie garden. Great place to get questions answered. You have to be signed onto Facebook to access it.
In my opinion, the GNPAL garden is one of the most exciting urban agriculture projects in town. It involves students, so it's an educational project, it feeds those in need, and if you haven't seen it--it's a first class garden. I hadn't known about the cooking classes before this week. That's the icing on the cake. Other community or organizational garden projects in Norristown should take lessons from these folks.
Now, I know that most seasons I grow more vegetables in my garden than I can consume. You people who grow zucchini know what I'm talking about. And tomatoes all seem to get ripe at once. I give some to neighbors, and I puree and freeze some, but I'd love to be able to share them with people in need. I saw where The Patrician Society at Green and Chestnut had gotten donations from a produce stand last week and I got to wondering if our food banks would take donations of surplus produce from individuals, too.
|Bringing home cucumbers from The Patrician Society|
If you do decide to donate produce to The Patrician Society, they have a receiving dock on their building (703 Green Street). Go into the parking lot and pull up to the fire escape where the dock is located. Ring the back doorbell to let them know you’re there and they'll come off-load your donation.
Seems to me that getting gardeners together with food pantries, or getting them together directly with families living below the poverty line, maybe through our churches, could only do good for Norristown as a whole.