A unique and viable approach to establishing local food self-reliance and building stronger communities.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The "Beet" Goes On

Monroe Sharing Gardens - August 4, 2012 (Grade School in background)
The Sharing Gardens project demonstrates an efficient way of growing food that is light on the Earth, builds community, and provides ample surplus for those in need. We have steered away from seeking large government, or private grants because, in order to be sustainable, we must demonstrate that this type of garden can thrive through the support and participation of the community it serves. This year has been an amazingly successful demonstration of these principles in action.

Llyn, with Striped German tomatoes
For the 2012 season, expenses specific to the gardens, were just under $2,800. This included gas and up-keep for the farm truck, materials for a 12'x40' greenhouse as well as other garden-growing basics. With the stipend that Chris and I receive from the project, to cover some of our living expenses, the total comes to $11,350. With these financial resources we were able to grow (on a piece of land 110' x170') over 30 varieties of vegetables. Our top ten producers yielded just under 6,200 pounds of food, including over 500 heads of lettuce, with a total market value of $15,800!

This food has gone to feed people at four charities in the area, the volunteers, and other contributors -- all free of charge. Because we are growing food in such volumes, many of our volunteers have 'canned' and dried food for winter storage as well.

The gardens would have cost much more to operate if it weren't for the community support we have received in materials-donations, tools and equipment, a trailer and RV we fixed up and re-sold, and countless volunteer hours - (our core group of gardeners each gave 3-5 hours weekly). We are grateful too that many people have offered their grapes, apples and nuts to glean and share. The project has also received many cash donations ranging from $20 to $3,000.

As we look to the 2013 season, we're excited about a growing partnership with the United Methodist Church adjacent to the gardens. It looks like we'll be cooperating on a series of classes, movie nights and potlucks meant to inspire and educate people about healthy eating, food preservation, organic gardening and other relevant topics. CLICK HERE

We continue to be thankful to the Crowson family for the use of the land and water on their property in Monroe.  We've recently tilled up an additional 8,000 sq/ft to include more winter-storage crops such as squash and potatoes, and to expand the existing orchard area to include figs, berries and more apples and plums. This brings our garden-area total to 2/3 of an acre! We are also determined to build a second greenhouse. CLICK HERE for an expanded list of donations given in 2012.

Let us know if you would like to participate in any way. We can always use more donations of cash, building materials, tools, garden supplies, leaves and hay (either to expand the existing site or spawn some new sites in surrounding communities.) Contact us: ShareInJoy@gmail.com - (541) 847-8797 - www.theSharingGardens.blogspot.com/

John Kinsey and Chris Burns wrestle buttercup squash vines over to the compost bins!
Top Ten producers - 2012

Sweet, ripe melon!
Beets: 462 pounds
Bell Peppers:135 pounds
Cabbage: 330 pounds
Cucumbers: 950 pounds
Lettuce: 511 heads
Melons: 185 pounds
Potatoes: 315 pounds
Tomatoes: 2,450 pounds
Winter Squash: 1050 pounds
Zucchini: 300 pounds

At local market values (not counting the 20 other crops grown) this comes to a value of $15,800.

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