The American Community Gardening Association describes a community garden as:
Any piece of land gardened by a group of people….it can be urban, suburban, or rural. It can grow flowers, vegetables or community. It can be one community plot, or many individual plots. It can be at a school, hospital, or in a neighborhood. It can also be a series of plots dedicated to ‘urban agriculture’ where the produce is grown for a market.
We’ve seen a marked increase of interest in community gardening in New Hampshire. Some folks want to connect with friends and neighbors, while others don’t have access to land on which to garden. And, with economic hard times, more and more people are looking to reduce their grocery bills by growing food.
Visit the Food Growing Basics sections of this site for information about seeds, soil, planting, garden care, pest management, harvesting, food preservation, and food safety. Take advantage of UNH Cooperative Extension’s toll free Info Line and our diagnostic services when you need help with horticultural problems.
“The face of agriculture on New Hampshire’s landscape has constantly changed over the past three hundred years, having gone through numerous cycles of growth and decline. Settlement of Northern New England began in the 1600s with land grants from the King of England. By the 1700s there were many self sufficient farms. However, during the fifty years from 1820 to 1870, the focus shifted from multi-purpose agriculture operations to mainly raising sheep for wool. The wool market declined with the advent of cotton from the southern United States and the shifting of sheep farming overseas. Agriculture production moved to more fertile lands in the Midwest and South and the industrial revolution slowly changed the face of New England as weaving, shoe and firearm manufacturing.“
Community Garden Connections (CGC) serves to build our local capacity to grow food. It addresses food insecurity related to climate change, personal and communal health, and resiliency. With the help of a private donation from the Rashti Foundation, CGC supports the installation and cooperative maintenance of raised gardens in partnership with local service agencies, students and community members. These funds also support educational outreach to meet the specific gardening interests of community partners.
Between 2011 and 2013 the CGC facilitated the implementation of 54 garden beds at eleven social service agencies. In addition to our sites in Keene, the CGC rejuvenated a one-acre plot on an abandoned prison site in Westmoreland, NH. Run by student volunteers and community members, the Westmoreland Garden Site donates 100% of its produce to traditionally underserved and marginalized members of the community. In 2013-2014 the CGC donated over 1,100 pounds of food.
In the coming years we want to expand educational opportunities for our gardeners, deepen our relationship with community partners and continue to increase access to healthy food and healthy environments.
Why Community Gardens?
Community gardens provide access to healthy landscapes, enhance our connections to outdoor environments, create strong social networks, increase self-sufficiency and local food security, and increase wellness. Gardening provides an affordable, nutritious food source. It cuts across social, economic, and racial barriers to bring together people of all ages and backgrounds. Please view our Resources page for more information on Community Gardens.