If you haven’t been here recently, you probably didn’t know Camden is fastest growing city in the country for community gardens! Although red tape hold up alot of development in the city, adopting vacant property for urban farms is quite easy. Because of that the amount of community gardens in the city has doubled and tripled in just the last few years. Most of the gardens are made possibly by the Camden Children’s Garden, which will adopt a plot of land from the city then set up the garden for free. The Children’s Garden is funded by several grants to make it possible. After the garden is set up, the plot owners take care of it and receive some free plants throughout the season.
Food deserts (like Camden, an area lacking in stores that provide fresh vegetable and other food options) are common for inner cities, but community gardens are a great partial solution. It provides some of the needed food plus the satisfaction of growing it yourself along with your neighbors.
Last spring I worked with Hopeworks when the Children’s Garden established the 100th garden in the city at the corner of 6th and Grant. Next to a former drug house and a still highly active drug corner, last season we grew tons of zucchini, eggplant, arugula, broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, and a few sunflowers and watermelons. The best part is being out there and meeting lots of neighbors who all have their own plot. Last October we had a tree planting around the edge of the garden and the surrounding blocks, with the help of a Walsingham retreat group and other volunteers. I can’t wait for this gardening season!