In St. Paul’s Como Park neighborhood, some neighbors are putting their heads together to identify the ideal spot for a new community garden.
Como Park already has a number of community flower gardens, but over the past year, some residents have expressed interest in planting vegetables somewhere, too, according to Jessie Bronk, the administrator and coordinator for the District 10 Como Community Council.
Recently, the neighborhood group formed a planning committee to help nail down the details. The eight-member committee, which had its first meeting earlier this month, involves both renters and homeowners in the neighborhood. “All are avid gardeners,” she says, adding, “It’s helpful to have all of that experience.”
Since it’s so early in the process, the project’s budget and scope, along with the garden's location, have yet to be determined. “We’re aiming for a space that can accommodate at least 15 plots,” she says.
At this point, the group has narrowed its list to seven possible locations, which it plans to look into over the next month. For starters, in the case of each piece of land, “We need to find out who owns the land and whether there’s a water source nearby,” she says.
It's a lot of work, but community gardens have plenty of benefits.
“[They're] a great way to connect neighbors, build community and beautify the neighborhood,” Bronk says, adding that they can help reduce crime as well.
She also sees community gardening as a good opportunity to reach out to diverse groups in the neighborhood. “It’s a way to make our district stronger,” she says.
Additionally, community gardens encourage local food production, healthy eating, and physical fitness.
The group hopes to begin gardening this spring. The fact that it's been such a mild winter has made it “fun to dream and plan for spring,” Bronk says.
Source: Jessie Bronk, administrator and coordinator, District 10 Como Community Council
Writer: Anna Pratt