(Sherry A Wells, May 14, 2014)
Gardening is good for one’s mental health and nutrition but is also an excellent method of community building.
There are two community gardens in southeast Oakland County.
About eight years ago, Trevor Johnson, a graduate of Ferndale High School graduate and Michigan State University, began talking about the concept.
Rosemary Spatafora, of Pleasant Ridge, saw his flyer on the cork board in Nature’s Food Patch and, with her husband Dennis, joined him in the effort. Many others have joined in, for one or several years.
It has gone from a compost pile and a few raised beds to having community and individual beds, an orchard, berry bushes, a children’s garden for peas and carrots as snacks.
Member and architect, Martin Price, designed a water storage system built by several members. In addition to catching rain water, the barrels are filled when the Ferndale Fire Department needs to empty water from its trucks. In return, the Good Neighbors take the firefighters home-baked cookies and fresh produce.
“The community aspect is the benefit of learning from others,” said Rosemary Spatafora, “such as what, when, where and how to plant, in addition to the enjoyment of working together in the fresh air.”
Royal Oak/Huntington Woods TimeBank Garden is beginning its second year.
TimeBanking provides its members the opportunity to exchange hours earned by helping others with time and talents for time and skills of others in the “bank.”
“We decided to maximize community by working together in the garden,” said Wendy Appleton. The garden is alongside her home in Huntington Woods.
“Some people have joined our TimeBank at first because of the garden.” She continued, “Our hours in the garden earn produce for those who work in it.”
Now that they have a year under their belts, the garden committee has used the last few months to research how to better structure and run a community garden.