Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Community Gardens of Tucson

"Little boxes on a hillside, little boxes made of ticky tacky, little boxes on a hillside, little boxes all the same......"  Well maybe you haven't heard this tune from the late Malvina Reynolds, but it's a good one.  Suburbia.  A lot of Americans are moving into smaller homes with smaller lots restricting them from gardening or doing other kinds of landscaping around their homes.  Why?  Well mostly this all stems from neighborhoods regulated by HOA's or the Home Owners Association.   Homeowners or renters with a green thumb are limited by what they can do and many times don't have the room for a garden space.  Enter the Community Gardens of Tucson.

Pics today are not my own.  This is a help guide for Tucsonans looking to garden in the Old Pueblo:)
"A community garden is a place where neighbors can grow flowers or vegetables together on one piece of land. The land is usually lent to us by a church, school or private land owner, at no charge, for use as a garden space. Separate garden plots, usually measuring about 3′ x 20′, are made available to individuals and families in the neighborhood. A drip irrigation system is installed to supply water to the plants. A separate water meter is installed in the garden, and the property owner is reimbursed for all the water that is used. The cost to the gardener is $15.00 per month for each plot. This money pays for the water bills and the irrigation equipment, the bimonthly newsletter and a shed full of tools. The gardener usually only needs to supply plants/seeds and soil amendments.

What Are The Benefits?

* Healthy, Tasty, fresh vegetables grown without pesticides

* Brings families and neighborhoods together

* Gives those without much of a yard a place to garden

* Good exercise – and gardening is peaceful and relieves stress

* Beginners and experts alike can share their knowledge (and their harvest)

* Teaches both children and adults about the lives of plants"

"In 1989, George Brookbank, a University of Arizona Cooperative Extension agent, devised a program to teach productive gardening using hands-on experience. A vacant lot located near 1st Ave. and Limberlost was graciously donated by the Hand family and was developed into plots with drip-irrigation systems. These plots were rented by participating families for the cost of water."
The founder of The Community Gardens of Tucson, George Brookbank, turns 87 years old.
"CGT is an all-volunteer nonprofit group devoted to promoting health, knowledge, joyfulness and a sense of community by helping Tucson residents establish and maintain neighborhood vegetable and flower gardens. It is made up of gardening experts, novices, homeowners and volunteer coordinators. If the garden is not going to be run by CGT, we are happy to consult on garden projects for a consulting fee of $50 per hour."  Source

On my gardening journeys around town, I discovered the Community Gardens of Tucson is alive and well.  In fact, in my own neighborhood of Miramonte, we have St. Marks.  St. Mark’s (Tucson Organic Gardeners) and The Benedictine Monastery both have community gardens open to the neighborhood on their respective properties. On my hunt last year for the avocado tree, I spoke with a priest and several sisters about the Community Gardens.  They were enthusiastic about starting this project up in our neighborhood.  In what seems to be a popular movement in growing our own vegetables, isn't it nice to know that gardeners have options? More tomorrow...


  1. I like the idea or concept of community gardens within cities. Over here in Sweden there is really no such idea. Despite the propaganda that Scandinavians hace eco-green encoded into their very DNA, nothing could be further from the truth. They are no different than folks in other places.

    Perhaps one of the things that hinders them from gardening projects is that the majority live in these Soviet Era amd mimiced high rise socialist housing projects where the government mandates what parks and recreation will look like. Where there are some gardening projects or small rental plots on the outside of the city, they are mostly immigrant occupied and participated in.

    There is even an open air with tents and covered buildings flea/Farmers market for which 90% of the thousands that visit are mosylt the immigrants from Asia, Mideast, Africa and South America.

    Nice photos and memories of what my life use to experience!



  2. Community gardens are wonderfully successful in many advanced countries, unfortunately it wont work well here because we dont have available lands. I noticed something there, that is the youngest gardener I've seen so far!

  3. I think the community gardens are such a fantastic idea. So many people benefit.

  4. I only wish the ticky tacky houses had that many colors...just tan or off-white stucco here!

    What a great program and set-up they have there. I guess the only thing limiting many people is the lack of time, or willingness, to daily tend one's plants to harvest some food. $15 / month sounds really reasonable for what it brings.

  5. hopefully they will continue bringing community together, too.

  6. I haven't had a garden in years. That's what happens when you work summers in a national park. And I do miss those fresh vegies. However, there is a community garden in my home town of Yarnell and my SIL and many friend enjoy the process and the harvest. It's a Great idea.

  7. That sounds an excellent community project Chris with so many benefit for residents.

  8. Hello! Very beautiful and interesting idea!

  9. Community gardens are such a wonderful idea. The bounty reaped goes far beyond the produce pulled from the ground.

  10. Nice gardening. That is an idea, go out and do it?

  11. When I worked in Zurich, one of my colleagues had her name down for an allotment - at her farewell she got a stately collection of up market garden tools.

  12. It's so nice to hear about the community gardens, every city should have them. :)

  13. Community gardens are a wonderful idea and allow people with no gardens of their own the opportunity of connecting with nature.
    Love the video, haven't heard that one for a long time.

  14. Such a big plus for all ages! T=hey do exist in Tournefeuille too but the cost is probably much more though. :-)

  15. An excellent idea which enables everyone to connect with the natural world whatever their circumstances.


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