6 Tips for Setting Up Community Gardens in HOA Neighborhoods
In the modern digital age we're living in, setting up a community garden may be exactly what HOA neighborhoods need to get their members off their digital devices and back to nature a bit.
Community gardens promote positive relationships within neighborhoods, provide healthy activities for people of all ages, and if done well produce a good amount of healthy food.
In an effort to help planners get their thoughts aligned, here are 6 tips for setting up community gardens in HOA neighborhoods.
Gain and Gauge Support from Homeowners
Board members and homeowners interested in starting a community garden should start by gauging the support for the idea with community members.
Planners can gain and gauge support with methods such as:
- text messages
- phone calls
- word of mouth
- announcements at board meetings
- fundraiser events
The main idea is to see how much support there is for such an idea; just keep in mind that some people may get excited about the idea only once it gets started.
If enough support is gained, board members and those directly involved can get started on the planning aspects.
After consulting with the HOA's lawyer to make sure of the legalities of such a project, planners can begin gathering ideas for the community garden.
This might include asking interested homeowners to share their ideas and desires for the community garden space; also, planners can conduct some research online to see what other HOAs have done with their community gardens.
Decide on the Space and Scope of Project
Sometimes unused space in common areas is what sparked the thought of a community garden in the first place, yet if this isn't the case, an adequate space needs to be chosen.
Planners can now use the information and research they've gathered to chose the perfect place for the garden. The amount of funds available for the project will need to be considered when choosing a space as well.
As the garden plot is being chosen, planners should take into considerations any other projects they may want to add to the area. For example:
- picnic area
- horseshoe pit
- dog park
- BBQ area
- small outside amphitheater
Building a community garden may be the beginning of other connected projects, bringing a larger scope to the project that must be considered when choosing a location.
Establishing Rules and Fees
Two important tasks for planners to accomplish is establishing the rules (if any) to govern the community garden and deciding what fees will be associated with it.
Having rules will ensure the garden is kept up and the plots are used in a manner that represents the HOA neighborhood.
Requiring a small fee will help board members pay for any project expenses and upkeep while making sure those who sign up are serious about using their assigned plot.
Planners may want to routinely bring in some outside garden expertise to help participants learn how to garden.
This will give beginners more confidence in their ability to get started and help experienced gardeners refresh their skills.
Enjoying the Community Garden
The last tip is to enjoy the positive effects of having a community garden. This is a project idea that really doesn't take a lot of effort, yet promises to bring the community together in a positive way.
Community gardens give HOA members of all ages a reason to come together and get away from their digital devices while learning how to grow healthy foods and enjoy the outdoors.
HOA neighborhoods need positive influences to create community cohesion and community gardens are sure to do just that.
Originally published on Business and Society Articles Aug. 16, 2018