What comes to mind when you think of community garden? I think of the community involvement more than anything--without buy-in from the community and their involvement, the garden becomes just an overgrown space that does not impact anyone's life. For years we have had a symbiotic relationship with the land by growing food in the earth that nourishes our families and friends. Community gardens allow us to come together, build relationships, and strengthen our bonds with our planet through a very old tradition of growing and eating food.
Our key word is “Community”! We started a garden at Eastside apartments with just a simple idea and a basic map. Meeting with the staff and management at the apartments helped us flesh-out ideas of what the residents will want to see in their community space. We always try to create a space that resembles the community, offering the residents an amenity that will only get better over time. This is not your average pool or tennis court...this Community Food Forest space will include 20-30 fruit trees and berries bushes, picnic area, shaded pecan grove, herbs and flower beds and some really great earthen raised beds to grow a bounty of fresh vegetables.
Event at Eastside Crossing
We had a really productive and fun day installing the garden. The Event lasted 2 days and there was a ton of prep work to make sure that everything was organized.
Earlier in the week:
We met with our vendor, Humble Harvest, to talk about the layout of the garden and the scope of the project. We ordered all the materials so we would have everything there when we needed it. Our plan included a 500 gallon water tank to be installed at the garden site, so we also included a second vendor to make sure that they understood the scope of the rain barrel project.
During the Event:
Thursday was a major earthworks day and we made raised beds with a machine and then raked and smoothed them out to get them ready for planting the next day. The garden team created over 1000 sq. ft of growing space for the garden. Tons of earth was moved and cleaned and the crew worked hard!
Friday was the Donuts for Digging: 10+ people showed up for some good old fashioned digging and planting. It was the perfect Summer day and we were so excited to host such a successful event. Everyone showed up with smiles on their faces and were extremely eager to get going. The beds were prepped and ready to receive seeds and starter plants, the crew got going and in no time at all we planted and watered tons of feet of veggies! We exceeded our expectations and had to open up more beds and soil to get things in the ground, everyone planted and did so much. We even got some much needed tree work done from the boss!
Was an amazing day and it was a true testament for how when community comes together how much we can accomplish. Gardens need people and its important to keep the community engaged so that the garden has the best chance for it to the the very best that it can be.
In one of our rarer finds today we dug up a small plastic bag full of coins! Nothing fancy or old, just a small bag of modern coins. We have high hopes for the East Side Crossing farm out future organic coin production.
Our farms are built in very populated areas, around apartment communities. This leads to some very unique finds in the dirt. Everything from old silverware, plastic toys, random trash, but also some cool historical items. Today while turning over some new raised beds, we found a small glass medicine bottle in great shape. I could tell it was old from the design and researched it a little more after reviewing the manufacturers mark on the bottom of the bottle. Turns out - this 55cc medicine bottle was from the Owens-Illinois Glass Company and manufactured in the later part of 1939!
The Owens-Illinois Glass Company was assembled in 1929 with the merger of the Illinois Glass Company and the Owens Glass Company, and a new manufacturers mark was used on the bottles. The mark was started in 1930 and was used through 1939, when in 1940 they added the "duraglass" label to the front of medicine bottles. This particular find has a "9" on the right side of the mark, indicating 1939 with the associated manufacturers mark.
Interested in more bottle history - check these out.