Athens Community Gardens Popularity Soaring

Last night while Kat was asleep on my lap, I decided to read the local newspaper online.

I was thrilled to see the featured front page article was on the rapid growth in the popularity of Community Food Initiatives’ community gardens here in Athens. Garden plots allotted this year in the West Side gardens rose sharply from last year’s 60 to 110, in part because of the worsening economy, but also because of the strong desire among Athens residents to eat local, sustainable, organic produce.

Community Food Initiatives, or CFI as it is commonly called around here, is a non-profit organization whose stated goal is to work toward food self-sufficiency among Athens county residents. Their projects include a seed saving program, the community gardens in Athens, a community composting program and various workshops to help teach and support new gardeners in the area.

I think that what CFI does is very important; as more and more Americans return to the tradition of growing their own food, there will be a great need for experienced gardeners to help teach the neophytes the ways of the spade and hoe. Without this sort of friendly educational support, the likelihood is that many new gardeners will fail in their endeavors, loose interest and stop trying to raise their own food.

Even more important than teaching gardening skills are the community-building aspects of CFI’s work.

Gardening advice can be gotten from books, magazines and the internet.

But having a living person in the garden plot next to yours teach you his traditional method of growing vegetables can lead to a lasting friendship which is beyond price.

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  1. Hi Barbara. This morning I stumbled upon your blog while looking for recipes using garlic scapes. Last week I volunteered with a local CSA group ( to help pack boxes that are heading to Chicago. As a result, I got to take home an over-flowing box of produce. I did it again last night and I am hooked. I just don’t know what I’m going to do with all the food I get each week from volunteering plus the veggies coming out of my garden when it starts producing. My children just turned 4 & 3 so I think I’ll have time to get the canner out this summer.

    So far I love what I have read on your blog and I let a few friends know about it. Kathy

    Comment by Kathy Krasny — June 25, 2008 #

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