Frugal vegans throw the most productive – err, "awesomest" – garden parties.

November 18th, 2010 11:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Oneida Square Community Garden

Families gather in the Oneida Square Community Garden –
complete with a popcorn machine! Story here.
CC image via Flickr user The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Cos.
——————————

The seeds of this week’s frugal vegan tip were planted several years ago, when I read a piece written by Lauren of the (seemingly) now-defunct blog Faux Real Tho. If memory serves correctly, Lauren described a sort of “work party,” wherein a group of friends and family members descended upon her backyard in order to help her and her husband create a garden space in their new home. In return for food and alcohol – naturally. The ultimate garden party, if you will.

Work + wine = a work party
Work + wine + dirt + produce = a garden party

Of course, bribing and plying your friends with alcohol and shiny happy vegan cupcakes is a great way to procure a little extra help when needed. But let’s take this concept a step further, shall we? Why split only the work when you can share it all: monetary expenses, land, labor, knowledge, materials and yield?

Let’s say, for example, that you want to start growing some of your own (VEGAN!) food in order to save money and become more self-sufficient (the apocalypse, it’s coming!). You have the space to establish a good-sized garden and the funds to cover any start-up costs – but are lacking the know-how and expertise to make it a rousing success. Or perhaps you’re an experienced gardener but are currently living in an apartment space which only affords room for a small window garden. Maybe you have the time to devote to weeding, watering, harvesting and preserving, but no money with which to buy the supplies. By pooling your resources with friends, family members and/or acquaintances, all of these potential pitfalls can be overcome.

WWII - Women's Land Army of the U.S. Crop Corps (1944)

WWII – Women’s Land Army of the U.S. Crop Corps (1944);
via Northwestern University’s World War II poster collection.
In this vintage, government-issued WWII propaganda poster, women are shows harvesting veggies, milking cows and feeding chickens. The copy reads, “Pitch in and help! Join the women’s land army of the U.S. crop corps.” Clearly, in my vegan utopia, the nonhuman animals live on a sanctuary, not a farm, and the ladies pictured in this pastoral scene are vegans caring for their nonhuman friends. Also: the men-folk are working the garden as well, but off to the side and just out of frame.
——————————

A shared garden can take a variety of forms. Perhaps one family provides the necessary land, water and supplies while their neighbors down the street assume responsibility for the daily chores required to keep it thriving – and all the produce grown is split 50/50 (or whatever seems fair to those involved).

Or let’s say that you and your friends want to try gardening, but only one of you owns a home, complete with a suitable backyard space. Why not have everyone chip in the funds required to establish and maintain the garden, and get together several times a week for a little dinner, drinks and gardening? Chores seem less tedious when performed in the company of (fed and inebriated) friends, no?

On the more extreme end of the spectrum, perhaps you’re able to rally your entire neighborhood around this cause, such that you collectively decide to allocate a public space for the garden, and divvy up all expenses, labor and crops equally. (No animals though, mkay? They’re friends, not food!)

(This sort of large-scale project begins to resemble a community garden, which is beyond awesome, particularly from a food justice standpoint. Every community should have access to fresh fruit and veggies – as well as the ability to grow them locally and sustainably – in this vegan mofo’s opinion. To find out how you can help community gardens survive and thrive in the United States, visit the American Community Gardening Association’s website and take action.)

However it’s organized, a shared garden can save you both time and money – while also fostering a sense of community and bringing you closer to the ones you love. If you’re lucky enough to have a veteran green thumb or amateur botanist join the party, laboring in a group has the added benefit of shared expertise and wisdom passed from one generation and/or population to another. And you know what they say about knowledge. It’s power, yo.

How about you? Have any of the mofo’s in the audience ever participated in a shared or community garden? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments!

Boardwalk Community Garden, Coney Island, Brooklyn

Boardwalk Community Garden, Coney Island, Brooklyn, 2010-09-06/
CC image via Flickr user Flatbush Gardener.
——————————

Vegan MoFo IV logo banner

Be Sociable, Share!

Filed under , , ,

2 Responses to “Frugal vegans throw the most productive – err, "awesomest" – garden parties.”

  1. Molly Says:

    The closest I’ve been to a shared garden is being a CSA member, but it is such a cool thing. We have several very large ones around here and they’re always selling at the farmer’s market. They really grow some amazing produce!

  2. Kelly Garbato Says:

    I keep meaning to look into CSAs ’round these parts. The nearest farmer’s market is closed for a one month+ stretch in the middle of summer, which is weird, since we live in the midwest. I mean, hello, farm country!

Leave a Reply