Would you share your garden for free fruit & vegetables?

Garden Share Schemes have been popular in America, UK and other countries for some time now.  A Garden Share scheme essentially pairs up gardeners who have nowhere to grow their own food with garden owners who have the space to grow but for whatever reason are not able to.

These schemes have attracted garden owners for numerous reasons, among which are: they do not know anything about growing food and want to learn from an experienced gardener; they no longer have the mobility to do their own gardening but would like to see their garden used by someone else (often these owners have lots of invaluable growing knowledge to pass on); they do not have the time to grow food but would like to see someone else do so.

The majority of volunteer gardeners join the scheme as a means of accessing a growing space. Whether they live in an apartment or are renting, this scheme gives them a space to grow their own food.

The benefits of such schemes are immense. From this wonderfully symbiotic relationship two people now have access to locally grown, seasonal vegetables. The sense of wellbeing gotten from eating freshly grown food that you had a hand in producing, whether by labour or provision of land, is wonderful.  This way of producing food also helps the environment by providing fruit and vegetables with no food miles. 

Beyond the health and environmental benefits, the social benefits, especially for elderly or disabled garden owners are extremely positive. The social contact of having someone calling a few times a week can make such a huge difference in the lives of some people. The relief of knowing that your garden is being used, especially  for food production and the security of knowing that someone is keeping an eye on the house & garden can also be very reassuring for garden owners. And the list goes on…

As with most community focused initiatives there are as many ways to organise a Garden Share Scheme as there are schemes. The basic principle of matching a compatible owner and gardener with each other is mediated in a variety of ways. In most cases, interested parties register themselves with the scheme. They would then individually meet with the co-ordinators. This gives the co-ordinators a chance to get to know each party a bit better and armed with this knowledge, they can then make the best pairing they can. Some groups also manage the agreement stage too.  This agreement covers issues such as access to the garden, tools, storage, division of produce and all the other nitty-gritty involved in such arrangements.

Schemes such as these have been running successfully in Edinburgh and also Brighton & Hove. These schemes would highlight the huge benefits of their schemes to elderly people in their communities. The other major success in these schemes has been that they offer people another path into growing their own food and all the joys that come from that.

If you are interested in Skerries Garden Share Scheme get in touch with us :

Email: sustskerries@yahoo.ie

Or call Barry on 087-229 5840

Further information on Garden Share Schemes can be found on the following sites:

http://www.growyourneighboursown.org.uk/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10594814

http://www.edinburghgardenpartners.org.uk/

http://www.transitiontowntotnes.org/groups/food-group/gardenshare

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