Last Wednesday I listened to Lori Kinnear, Legislative Assistant to Councilmember Richard Rush, give a presentation to the Human Services Board on the feasibility of creating a community garden network. As is the norm for Spokane, we are in the shadows of Seattle and Portland who both have programs that started in the early 1970's and continue to grow...um, blossom...I mean, uh--they have a lot of participation. One interesting stat Lori brought up was that during World War II victory gardens provided 40% of the produce in America.
The idea is to create community gardens on unused or idle city property. A volunteer master gardener would oversee each garden. Water would ideally be supplied by the city which would be more efficient since they'd be watering gardens instead of grass.
The City of Spokane has made a start and other initiatives such as one in the West Central neighborhood (KSPS video) exist. Other programs have been around for quite some time.
There's a lot of potential in Spokane for this. Fresh Abundance just hosted a seed exchange last Sunday. In a newsletter from last December, Bright Spirit Hendrix said,
My challenge to you is to grow a victory garden this coming season. It could be anything from a few pots on a terrace to a full section of your yard. Growing food is one of the best ways you can contribute to the sustainability movement. If you take on this challenge I personally commit to making sure you have access to information, classes, and tools over the 2009 growing season. Even if you don't have a green thumb and have never grown anything before please consider taking up this challenge.
Years ago when Stephanie was four our neighbor had green beans growing on the fence between our yards. When I told her what they were, Steph replied, "No, Dad. Green beans come in a can." I decided right then we would have a garden which we did for quite some time. It was something when Josh and Steph would ask, "Can I have a carrot our of the garden?" They thought it was great to yank one out of the ground, wash it off, and crunch away. We stopped gardening about four years ago and I miss it. So I'm taking up Bright Spirit's challenge. It's on!