Community gardens are great for city dwellers that want to grow their own food and other crops, an activity that plays an important role in sustainable living. Community gardens are shared green spaces where plants are cared for communally. Typically, a resident or interested gardener will claim a plot by paying a small annual membership fee and then they will have have free reign to cultivate whatever crops they'd like on their plot. According to the Boston Natural Areas Network, over 10,000 Bostonians participate in community gardening. These numbers are growing as the "eat local" movement continues to gain momentum. There are community gardens in almost every neighborhood of Boston, each providing wonderful opportunities for residents, but there are a couple of Boston community gardens that stand above the rest.
Tremont St. and Berkeley St.
Boston, MA 02116
One of the oldest and most popular community gardens in Boston is Berkeley Gardens in the South End. The garden has been continuously run since the early 1970s. The garden contains approximately 140 plots with a diverse group of gardening participants. Participants come from nearby Chinatown, Roxbury and from the Back Bay area. The garden is also open to the public so that passersby can enjoy a bit of rural life in the middle of the city. Tourists can learn even more about Boston's thriving urban gardening trend by taking tours of the Berkeley Gardens.
Fenway Victory Gardens
Boston, MA 02215
Another popular community garden is nearby on Boylston Street by Fenway Park. The Fenway Victory Gardens is a free seven-acre space for residents to grow whatever crops they'd like. The suggested donation for gardeners to give to the nonprofit that maintains the space is just two dollars. Because the Fenway Victory Garden is located on the Emerald Necklace in the Fens, quite a bit of space is designated to the garden. This creates room for over 500 garden plots. The Fenway Victory Garden, because it is so large, is a great event space. Some past community events hosted there include yoga classes, gardening workshops, movie nights and more.
Both the Berkeley Gardens and the Fenway Victory Gardens are traditional community gardens, but it is likely that new gardens will look a bit different. For example, green roofs will eventually provide Boston with much more cultivable land than we've seen in the past, giving even more Bostonians the opportunity to grow their own food. And people who don't consider themselves much of a green thumb will have more and more Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs to choose from.
One such CSA that is likely to open for members in 2014 is Higher Ground Farm – a garden located on the roof of the Boston Design Center in the Seaport District. Higher Ground has received a great deal of press and praise since the project began earlier this year, and we will hopefully see other rooftop farm projects beginning to take shape.
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Cameron Bruns is the founder of BostonGreenBlog.com and co-author of Just Us Gals Boston. She lives in Boston's North End, where her goal is to promote ethical, stylish, and sustainable lifestyle choices to all Boston residents. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.
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