A lack of proper space compels the mind creatively
Above: Machu Picchu. Photo by Magnus Von Koeller
Photo by John Hartzell
Gardening can often be arduous. Just ask the Incas, who conceived of one of the coolest community gardens and agriculture designs in man-made history. On the slopes of the Peruvian Andes rests Machu Picchu.
The Inca civilization carved terraces that embraced the mountain's water drainage and cultivated soil that evidently is still fertile to this day.
The Incas are most known for Potatoes, Maize (corn), Quinoa (today’s favorite protein filled grain), and a medicinal herb Quinine known to cure malaria.
Though the garden I recently visited was no match to the intricate gardens of the Incas, it was very large and beautiful in its own rite. Sepulveda Community Gardens occupies 20 acres and contains almost 800 garden plots! The plots are about 10 feet by 20 feet. Only a tiny fee is required once a year just for the upkeep of the grounds. Water is supplied along with shovels, rakes, hoes and even wheel barrels.
Although ancient and modern day community gardening has perhaps always been around, I didn’t really have knowledge of it until moving into a larger city where many people have no space. (In large cities, community gardens serve a similar purpose as dog parks, a large space for people to let their dogs run). A community garden allows neighborhood residents an area, shared with others on public property, to grow their own provisions.
Taking community beyond mediocrity.
Community gardens are very popular in many large cities, including Detroit, New York, DC, & Los Angeles. However community gardening is now popping up in cities of all sizes! According to the American Community Gardening Association, there are currently about 18,000 community gardens in the US and Canada.
These gardens often have little social areas in the middle for visiting with other gardeners, sharing tips, or even sharing their over-abundance of produce.
Sepulveda Gardens even has a greenhouse for germinating seeds. Nurturing seeds through their infant cycles in the greenhouse makes it easier to grow various plant species, versus just planting them straight into the harsh environment of the ground.
Community gardens come in all shapes and sizes. From gardens on the sides of buildings referred to as Hanging or Vertical Gardens to gardens planted on the rooftops of condo and apartment buildings, there are no limits. Only in our unopened minds.
*Upon completing this story we heard First Lady Michelle Obama had created a book on community gardens called American Grown ! Such a thrill that we are all encouraging farm to fork ideas. It does take a village!
I find everyday I live & breathe to be a gift.