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green values in action
an initiative from the green party of poughkeepsie, ny
by scott patrick humphrey
7.21.09
general


Community Gardening Initiative
Scott Patrick Humphrey:
Green Party candidate for City Council /1st ward of Poughkeepsie, NY

What is a community garden?
A community garden is a plot of land that is used by any and all citizens who wish to participate in the action of collective gardening. The garden can be located in a neighborhood, on hospital grounds, or at a school. It can be used to grow any variety of vegetation, as well as facilitating the growth of a community. It can be one large plot that is collectively gardened by a team of local residents, or the same plot of land can be divided into evenly proportioned smaller plots that will be allocated to a resident by raffle ticket; the waiting list will also be chosen this way. Each season will make way for the next person on the list for a particular plot.

What are the benefits to the local community?
The way I see it, community gardening has many benefits. The impact it can have on community relations is significant. Here are some of the benefits that are listed by the American Community Garden Association. (ACGA)

- Promotes social interaction. People from all over the ward will be able to meet and interact with their neighbors in a proactive and fun way.

- Provides a catalyst for neighborhood and community development. Developing activities and forums for community social interactions strengthens unity and develops commonality amongst neighbors. Working together on this type of project will foster an atmosphere of togetherness that can lead to results for other community needs. Many voices have an impact that one voice may not.

- Encourages self reliance. Learning how to garden and grow your own food helps to develop self reliance. The art of producing your own food is a satisfying feeling that reinforces self confidence.

- Reduces family food budgets. The space will be large enough for people to grow food that will replace the produce they would normally spend money on at the supermarket. With inflation and the rising cost of goods and services, a community garden can have a significant impact on the family food budget.

- Produces nutritious food. Organically grown food is not tainted by chemicals that are present in much of the produce available at the supermarket. Today many vegetables may be genetically modified without your knowledge. Many vegetables are genetically modified to resist a certain type of industrial pesticide. This results in a product that is heavily tainted with chemicals as well as being genetically modified. Food allergies and food born diseases have increased substantially since genetically modified foods were introduced into the market. Finally, most produce that we buy at the supermarket has traveled an average of 1500 miles to get to your fork at home; absorbing pollutants from fuel exhaust on the highways it travels. A community garden would drastically reduce the distance your food would travel eliminating the absorption of those pollutants.

- Creates opportunities for recreation, exercise, therapy, and education. The two aspects here that coexist are recreation and therapy. It is a fun activity that can be very relaxing and therapeutic. Cultivating life can have a positive effect on you. The physical work load of gardening can also be a way to get exercise, and the great part is, if you cant physically do something you can always rely on the help of a neighbor. As a teacher I understand the need for positive social activities for children in order to thrive. What better way than to teach them the value of the environment, teamwork, social interaction as well as self reliance than a community garden?

- Preserves and develops green space. I would like people to realize that we are a part of nature not separate from it. Part of our responsibility is to protect the ecosystems of which we are a part. The reduction of garbage is a major issue for ours and coming generations. One way we can combat this and simultaneously benefit the environment is to compost all of our biodegradable trash. This will drastically reduce the amount of waste that will have to go into landfills while at the same time adding nutrients to the community garden soil where the compost can be housed.

- Neighborhood beautification. A thriving community garden would add a grand aesthetic beauty to the neighborhood that everyone could take great pride in.

Talmadge Street Community Garden Project
The resurrection of this space is crucial to fostering all of the values stated in this initiative. The space was used as a garden and taken care of by a few locals who eventually had to abandon the project. My hope is to promote this idea to the community and the city council for approval and begin re-growing our community.


ABOUT SCOTT PATRICK HUMPHREY

A post modern culture enthusiast with a penchant for radical thought. I am very close to becoming a Theatre and English teacher here in New York City. I have Bachelors degrees in Theatre and English and I am completeing a Masters in Secondary Education. I most certainly believe we live in a hyper-real non referential world which none the less holds a great amount of hope and mystery for me. Lets tease this thing out and see where it lands.

more about scott patrick humphrey

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COMMENTS

scott humphrey
8.6.09 @ 7:32a

Eh, this is an article discussing the many values of a community garden. If it is not clear by the last paragraph why it is personal to me; take a second read.

scott humphrey
8.9.09 @ 2:24p













[edited]

maigen thomas
8.9.09 @ 6:35p

I actually really hope this gets through to a lot of people - I have always liked the idea of community gardens, for all the reasons listed. One day, I hope to stay in one place long enough to participate in something like this.

tracey kelley
8.9.09 @ 11:34p

I think community gardens are such a joy, and hope that every municipality recognizes the importance of the effort. Good luck with your run and the endeavor.

scott humphrey
8.10.09 @ 12:27a

I appreciate the support, thank you.



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