Saturday, November 6, 2010

Garden-sharing! There's an app for that, too :)

Originally posted to the CEP blog, Fruit from the Tree.

I know how many of you CEPsters secretly (or not all secretly!) want to get your hands dirty with your very own little plot of urban garden. I can taste the organic tomatoes already! Many of you may even have done, or will do, your Senior Projects about urban gardening.

One of the major stumbling blocks for tapping into the public's desire for urban gardening is the lack of available space; most P-Patch gardens in Seattle, like the one near where I live in Eastlake, for instance, have a year-long waiting list. By this time, for many aspiring gardeners, the initial passion is gone and the effort is wasted.

Thanks to the efforts of some smart web developers, however, we now have Craigslist-like interactive directories of available garden space for the taking in Seattle and many other cities.

For instance,  a simple search on We Patch reveals at least a dozen available plots within two miles of the UW campus. In addition to listing available spaces, it creates a powerful and easy-to-use community of fellow gardeners, connecting landowners who have extra yardspace to eager gardeners ready to plant. Other sites like Urban Gardenshare allow you to create a Facebook-like profile to narrow down your preferences and find the exact right plot for you.

Portland's Yardshare does the same thing in CEP's sister city. Even the City of Santa Monica has recognized the long wait-times for new gardeners to its programs and created a garden-sharing registry for gardeners to sidestep the bureaucracy and get established in their plots on their own.

For those of you still looking for Senior Projects, or really anyone interested in urban food systems, I would highly recommend reaching out to these organizations that could be real assets to CEP!

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