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Organic Gardening

Get dirty, have fun and grow more food with great gardening tips from real-life gardeners.


How Has Gardening Brought People Together in Your Life?

Community garden 

We talk a lot about the nitty-gritty of gardening here at MOTHER, but one great thing about gardening that goes beyond soil building and crop rotations is its ability to bring people together. The year I grew a large garden in my front yard, I not only learned a lot about growing food, I got the chance to know more of my neighbors. Many times when I was out front weeding or watering, a neighbor would also be outside, and would stop by to say hello and see how the garden was coming along. I ended up having many wonderful front-yard chats and sharing a lot of extra food with my neighbors over the summer.

Growing food can bring people together in all kinds of ways, from community gardens, to sharing food with friends and neighbors, to simply cooking for people with the fresh, homegrown food you produced. Some gardeners get involved with community food banks, school gardens or the local farmers market.

As spring is now officially here, it’s a great time to revel in all the pleasures the season is sure to bring. Please share your thoughts and stories about how gardening has brought people together in your life in the comments section below. We can’t wait to hear them!


Shelley Stonebrook is MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine’s main gardening editor. She’s passionate about growing healthy, sustainable food and taking care of our environment. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and .

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Creative Commons.
cyndi green_1
3/26/2010 7:32:58 AM

I live in a small neighborhood just north of Porter Texas. Only a few children communicate between each other, the adults usually stay private. Putting in our garden has opened doors, neighbors eagerly await the vegetables. Our yard eggs have broadened an awareness of what "fresh" really means. Overall, our small backyard farm has proven what can be raised in a suburban city life and brought friends together. When this project started, I had no idea what benefits would develop, now I have what I like to think of as "neighborhood security", with everyone's eyes on the poultry, ducks and three gardens. Not only that, but neighbors have offered to pay for the vegetables because they don't have time to grow them and desire the fresh grown produce. Gardening also has brought a youthful color to my face, and a workout I needed to lose 20 lbs., still working on another 20 lbs., it seems I found 10 years I thought I had lost. To summarize, I grew younger, found new friends, have developed a potential extra income and will enjoy the harvest with all the health benefits of my own organically grown vegetables and sauces made from them. Thanks to Mother Earth's instructions for an outdoor oven, I'll probably attract even more with the fresh aroma of breads.


the yarden_5
3/23/2010 4:13:34 PM

When we put in our 1,700 square foot organic raised bed garden in Chicago's 40th ward four seasons ago we HOPED it would build community because we knew it would be a lot of effort. It turned out to be a friend/neighbor magnet just as we had hoped. The first season we had a planting party on Memorial Day weekend. People showed up a bit confused and anxious but still wanting to help. Some had never planted a seed before. By the third year those people are now "team leaders" bossing the other new friends and neighbors around (in a nice way) and instructing on different tasks - how to dig the tomato holes and how much organic fertilizer to use, the "container committee", the "seeders"... it is really a lot of fun to watch people WANT to get involved. Gardens are addictive. We're hooked on ours - and the friends it attracts - more than you can imagine.