A community garden or co-op gardening project can greatly benefit a town like Witless Bay.
Community gardens provide fresh produce and plants as well as satisfying labor, neighborhood improvement, and a sense of community. They’re typically owned in trust by local governments or not for profit associations.
Memorial University has been operating a community garden for the past few years, and it has been working very well. There are also a number of small-scale community gardens throughout St. John’s, and in neighbouring communities. Many of these gardens are in the Georgetown neighbourhood, and seem to function very well. The students at Mobile High School also run this kind of program, with great success.
Community gardens don’t need much land, but the land has to be great for growing. They should also be in a location where people will respect the community aspect of the project.
To help make participants’ workload more equal and avoid “the tragedy of the commons,” community gardens can have both “private” and “communal” parts. Once the land is ready for planting (tilled, fertilized, etc.), participants are each given a part of the garden, for which they are fully responsible. Another part is reserved for “everyone” to enjoy. That way, people come to tend to their own piece, but also spend a few minutes tending to the communal piece as well. Everyone gets their “fair share,” and also work towards the “common goal.” The “communal” part of the garden can be grown with the intent of donating the produce to the needy.
A gardening co-op is another possibility. Since some land is very good for growing potatoes, and someone else’s land is good for growing tomatoes, each member grows what grows best in their garden, then everything’s pooled and divided. Some people in the community produce great quantities of rhubarb, for instance, which they could share and exchange for other things which they do not grow in their own gardens.
Do you know of a piece of arable land that is available for this project?
Is there enough interest for such a project to be viable?