What’s the main goal of a community garden? Are they geared toward helping the community, or are they little pieces of suburbia that carry over that same mentality? A number of community gardens are scattered throughout Corvallis and the surrounding area; not all share the same vision.
Dunawi Creek Community Garden is the largest in Corvallis, with 100 families caring for organically grown produce from artichokes and asparagus to grapes and rhubarb on its two acres. Located in Bruce Starker Arts Park, the garden offers 72 perennial plots, 27 annual plots, and four wheelchair-accessible raised beds; costs range from $25 to $55 per season. Each spring, gardeners sign up for annual plots for the summer. Available year-round, the larger perennial spots are aimed at gardeners who return year after year or who garden over the winter.
“A couple are available right now to start planting garlic and fall crops,” commented Garden Manager Deanna Lloyd.
At Dunawi Creek, the city provides water and gardeners can used shared tools or bring their own. Students, renters, people with shaded yards, and people who have gardens but just want more space take advantage of the plots. Gardeners maintain only their own area, and the majority of the work is done solo according to people’s busy schedules.
“We even have people who are night gardeners who come out with their headlamps and work in their gardens,” said Lloyd. Still, “a lot of people collaborate with their neighbors,” she noted. “People watch out for other people.”
The Dunawi Creek Community Gardeners take part in community work parties, as well as community potlucks. For more information about Dunawi Creek or the smaller Avery Park Community Gardens, call 541-753-9211 or visit www.corvallisenvironmentalcenter.org.
Other local community gardens include Peanut Park, the Sharing Gardens in Monroe, and the Westside Community Church Garden. Members of the Avery Addition Neighborhood Association created a garden at Peanut Park with the goal of setting an example of a local, sustainable food system. The Peanut Park Community Garden came about through a Neighborhood Empowerment Grant from the City of Corvallis in July 2010. The group hopes to create a year-round garden.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://sustainablecorvallis.org/2011/08/peanut-park-neighbors-create-a-model/.
At the Sharing Gardens in Monroe, founders Llyn Peabody and Chris Burns and fellow volunteers aim to provide fresh, organic produce to those in need. One large vegetable plot is shared by all. The materials and labor are donated, and each year’s surplus is donated to local food banks and other charities.
According to the group, shared gardens maximize the amount of food that can be grown, allow for more efficient watering and pest management, and place the emphasis on cooperation and a common goal.
Several local churches collaborate to form the Westside Community Church Garden, an organic garden in Corvallis aimed to help low-income Latino families grow food at reduced cost. The surplus benefits local food banks. For more info, visit www.wcc-corvallis.org/ministries/community-garden.html.
By Jen Matteis