Image by climatesafety via FlickrStory here.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
An example of a community garden. Image by Sbocaj via FlickrResidents of Northeast Neighbors (NEN) should note the following alert and call for feedback:
NEN Board seeks neighborhood input on idea for community garden in McRae Park
This fall, the City of Salem asked for ideas for Salem Park Improvement Fund (SPIF) projects, as the first step towards awarding what is expected to be around $60,000 in matching funds for projects in Salem parks. In October, the NEN Board passed a proposal to submit for review the general idea of converting the north-most section of McRae Park (where the horseshoe pits are now, north of the paved path) into a community garden area.
The SPIF reviewers have evaluated the ideas that various neighborhood associations submitted (an estimated $150,000 worth) and are preparing to call for the actual
applications towards the end of January 2010. A big part of the scoring for SPIF grant applications will be the level of support in the neighborhood for the proposed projects. So that's what we'd like to hear from you -- what you would see as the pros and cons of the idea.
Community gardens are typically mechanically deep-tilled by machine once a year, in the spring when the ground is dry enough to be worked. Compost is normally applied to all the plots at once, either along with the spring tilling or during the fall garden cleanup.
Except for tilling and composting, each gardener works their own plot, deciding what to plant and taking care of all the tending (weeding, watering, harvesting), although it's common for gardeners to help each other too. The gardeners work together to decide on things like the kinds of sprays and fertilizers that can be used, how big plots should be, how plots should be assigned, requirements for work parties, etc.
What would you think if the northern-most part of McRae park was turned into a community garden area, where people could grow annual flowers and vegetables in small plots? Note that this would require either totally removing or relocating the horseshoe pits within the park. The initial project costs, which would be funded from the SPIF grant, matched with volunteer labor, would include running a water source to the garden area, building some kind of secure storage for garden tools (probably just a secure fenced enclosure), and creating a bin system for recycling and reusing composted plant waste that the garden would generate. [Ongoing costs for city water would be paid by the gardeners at the site.]
The NEN Board will discuss this idea further and plans to decide whether to move forward with the SPIF application at the January 19th evening meeting, which starts at 6:30 p.m. at Willson House on Center Street. If you want to offer encouragement or raise concerns about the idea, you are invited to attend that meeting. If you are unable to attend but want to offer your views, you can contact any of the NEN board members and they will ensure that your thoughts are part of the discussion.
We look forward to hearing your thoughts about this idea.