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Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Year in Community Gardening

This is the week when everyone reviews the year that just passed and makes top ten list and best of lists. It would be nearly impossible and possibly unfair to come up with a best of or top ten list of community gardens.

2012 was notable for community gardens for several reasons. This was the year that the policies that have gone into effect over the last several years have been tested and from all the reports have passed with little problems. Maybe not earth shattering news but it is important that these policies prove worthwhile to politicians and city bureaucrats as well as useful for community gardeners.   For community gardens to be sustainable one piece of the puzzle is policies that work - not too restrictive while making the municipality supportive.

Research on urban agriculture and community gardening continues at a brisk pace, most notably this year the Five Borough Farm Project and the Michigan State University Metro Food Innovation Cluster at Detroit  looked at what is happening in New York and Detroit respectively while making proposals for future direction.  It might be better if this research money went directly into community garden programs but if this research leads to even more dollars in the future then it will be money well spent.

Hurricane Sandy was also big news for community gardens in New York City. My blog post on the subject covers the details. Once again community gardens are a microcosm of the our world. Climate change threatens community gardens just as it threatens the earth. Maybe we can find some solutions  to prepare community gardens for future climate change that will work for us all.

This was a great year for me as a presenter. I made presentations about policy, rainwater harvesting and sustainable community gardens. Probably the most fun was doing a presentation about the bicycle powered water pump at the World Maker Faire . So now I am officially a Maker.

As in most years there are positive and negative events that happen over the course of a year. 2012 fits right there with the good, bad and ugly of years. Let's look forward to next year being one that is healthy for community gardening and community gardeners.

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