I recently had the opportunity to see a community garden in Cambridge, England. I was not able to connect with any of the gardeners as I visited on a Sunday morning when no one was around. The garden was open which right there might be an unrecognizable feature to a New York City community gardener. I was only visiting Cambridge for a short time so I couldn't visit again or arrange to meet a gardener.
Cambridge is a university town. Basically the university is surrounded by and intermingled with the town. There is a Botanical Garden that is affiliated with the University. Just south of the Botanical Garden are an Allotment Garden and the Empty Common Community Garden which I visited. Allotments have been a popular type of opportunity for city dwellers to be able to garden somewhere close to the city. In some cases they look like backyards. There is a rental fee or in the case of a allotment I visited in Malmo, Sweden in 2005, the plots are owned and can be sold much like any other home or property. The Cambridge Allotments are rented on a yearly basis.
The interesting thing to me was that the Allotments and the community garden in this case were adjacent to each other. There wasn't a very clear delineation between the allotment and the community garden. The garden did have some plots , a greenhouse and a number of common areas. The common areas are what seemed to distinguish the garden from the allotment. The seating areas were made from repurposed logs and there were other fun and interesting features to the garden, I tried to capture these details in some of the photos. The land for both is owned by the City Council but it is not clear to me what the procedure is to join either one. Perhaps I will learn that on a future visit.
It seems analogous to me to the difference between Community Gardens and Urban Agriculture projects in New York and other American cities. An Allotment or Urban Agriculture project are individually controlled while the Community Gardens are, well...