Sharing Garden is a unique community-garden model. Instead of many separate plots that are rented by individuals,
the garden is one large plot, shared by all. All materials and
labor are donated. Share-givers (volunteers) typically come one to two times per
week (at scheduled times) to help in all aspects of farming from
planting, through harvest. The food we grow is shared amongst those
who have contributed in some way as well as with others who are in
need in our community (through food pantries and other charities.)
Our project encourages community in a tangible way. Growing food together helps build relationships. The Gardens have become a hub for distributing surplus building materials, garden equipment and supplies, canning jars, seeds and 'starts' and other related materials. Neighbors bring us their excess (or invite us to come pick it up) and we distribute it to those in need.
|Amy and Cindy sort donated pots and trays.|
The Sharing Gardens also has a strong educational component: share-givers learn about organic gardening, creating habitat for pollinators and other beneficial wildlife, saving
“heirloom” seeds, pruning and other food-growing skills. We have
also offered classes in cooking from scratch, using ingredients from
the garden and encourage our share-givers and blog-readers to learn about canning and other
|Llyn preparing tomatoes for dehydrating.|
Every year we have been able to provide local food-pantries with a bounty of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables from the Garden's surplus. We have given away thousands of surplus 'starts' grown in our green-house to other sharing-type gardens, and food-pantry customers. We save over 85% of our own seed which is shared through seed-swaps, and to those who will use it for non-commercial growing.
In recent years we have partnered with Oregon State University's "service-learning" projects. Over the school year we host 50-60 students, for four-hours each (in groups of 4-6). These students help with all aspects of our project and learn about organic gardening, sustainable living and experience the joys of being in service to the community -- while receiving college credit.
|OSU students re-potting 'starts'|
Currently our project gleans fruit from neighbors' trees and provides a drop-off site for gardeners/farmers to drop-off their surplus. This is then distributed to those in need. Since purchasing the land that hosts the
Sharing Gardens (2014), we have planted dozens of fruit and nut trees and
berry-bushes. As these mature, we are significantly adding to
the quantities of fresh, organic produce we can share
in our community.
We have a strong commitment to providing habitat to birds, small-mammals, insects and reptiles. Our style of gardening provides food and shelter for many of these critters who's habitats' are shrinking due to humans' lifestyles habits.
|Apples gleaned from our neighbors.|
There are many benefits to growing food in the sharing model.
Grow the maximum amount of food: Sharing Gardens use
the garden space more efficiently. Since we grow all the food together
(instead of separate plots) there are fewer pathways between
garden rows and all of the same kind of plants can be grown together
making harvests more efficient too.
Water more efficiently: Plants can be grouped together with similar watering requirements.
|Delicata squash on harvest-day.|
Manage weeds and pests more easily:
In a typical community garden setting, pesticide or herbicide applications
in one plot can lead to a mass exodus of the offending bugs or weeds
into adjacent plots. This can lead to a mini “arms race” between garden
plots to bolster plants against pests. In a Sharing Garden, if pests/weeds appear, they can be managed selectively without the need for ever-accelerating methods of eradication.
Save pure seeds: Many plants will cross with their neighbors, or hybridize.
This means that, in a typical community garden neighboring gardeners
would need to coordinate so their seed-stock doesn't cross with
neighbors. In a Sharing Garden, you
can plan your crops to keep strains from crossing and save enough
seed to last for a few years. In years that you're not saving seed, it
doesn't matter if you plant varieties that might 'cross' in neighboring
|Cindy, Rook and John have a "weeding party".|
Though some community gardens have regular work parties and social
gatherings, the emphasis is on each gardener doing their own thing. In a
Sharing Garden, the focus is on cooperation and sharing a common goal. Having a meaningful shared purpose builds great camaraderie.
|Kidney beans grown for food and next year's seed.|
Share knowledge: Sharing Gardens
become a place where gardeners can share their experience with each
other. Participants are also learning about food preservation, gleaning
and other ways of increasing local food security.
|Children enjoy eating the food they helped grow and harvest!|
|Participants learn about food-preservation.|
Live more lightly on the planet: An additional benefit of this style of gardening is that we use salvaged material whenever possible. This keeps
these materials out of burn-piles and the land-fill while providing new
life for tools, leaves, grass clippings and building supplies. By
encouraging people to share their surplus we build a tangible sense of
community and networks of relationship that can be drawn from in times
Help local wildlife: Each of our gardens is designed to
create habitat for pollinators and other beneficial wildlife as we believe it is important to
"share" the earth beyond our human family.
|Ken and Chris create tomato-cages out of old fencing material.|
pleased to see that other communities around the U.S. are beginning to
adopt the Sharing Gardens model which is an idea with so many benefits and
very few "down sides".
|A Sharing Garden creates a healthy environment for humans and non-humans alike!|
The Sharing Gardens is a registered charitable and tax-exempt organization. We exist entirely through donations. If you have benefited from our project or site please consider making a donation through PayPal (a receipt will automatically be provided for your tax records).
I hope Covid ends soon. I would love to visit your garden! I hope to be up your way in summer 2021. Do you have a Blacksmith shop? You should! I am a Blacksmith with 25 years experience. I would love to donate my time to teach y'all some basics.ReplyDelete
Hello - We don't have a need personally for a blacksmith's shop but we appreciate your kind offer. If it turns out you'll be in the area next summer, let us know and see about having you visit. Our email address is under the Tab: Meet the Founders-Contact Us along the right-hand side of our this website. Take care.ReplyDelete