39th Annual ACGA Conference – Atlanta, Georgia

By Libby Weiland, Statewide Network Coordinator

This year I had the privilege to participate in the 39th Annual American Community Gardening Association (ACGA) Conference held in ACGA’s home city, Atlanta, Georgia. I’m not sure it gets much better than southern gardener hospitality. A wonderfully diverse and dynamic gathering of people–all working to make essential change and growth happen in their communities, across North America. I brought some tidbits home to share. Hope you find the following notes and images inspiring and useful!

  • Levi Gardner from the Grand Rapids non-profit, Urban Roots, presented on the “Sharing Garden Model.” Known also as “collective” or “communal” gardening, Levi and his team host weekly gatherings at their garden to cultivate and harvest their collective crop with neighbors, as opposed to individuals tending their own beds separately. By using the bio-intensive method of growing vegetables they minimize their time spent cultivating (i.e. weeding) and maximize time spent harvesting. Levi is coming out soon with a book about sharing gardens. More info about Urban Roots can be found at: https://www.urbanrootsgr.org.
  • Hydroponic gardening–a fascinating experiment! Here are some on-the-cheap plans and tips for getting started from the University of Florida.
  • Each community garden in the Denver Urban Gardens (DUG) system has a steering committee that oversees garden management, logistics, and communications. Steering committee members are expected to rotate on a regular basis, so that all gardeners have the opportunity to serve in garden leadership. This sort of planned succession takes the pressure off of a single leader to sort out what happens when they are ready to pass the torch and instead puts the onus on the community as a whole, emphasizing what it means to belong to a community effort. I’m often “wowed” by the latest DUG is up to. Learn more for yourself at: https://dug.org.
  • I had the honor to co-present on community composting with Renee Crowley, Project Manager for the NYC Compost Project. Renee and her colleagues are leaders in the field of community food scrap composting. Also, my favorite small scale community composting resource comes from the NYC Compost Project–check it out.
  • Plus some photo highlights from garden field trips!
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