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Get your hands dirty and learn new skills at your local community garden
So you want to get into gardening. Why wouldn’t you! It’s a fun weekend hobby, can be a cheaper way to add fresh fruits and veggies to your diet, and studies have shown that it’s a great way to reduce stress and improve mental well being.
As a city-dweller, you may be thinking that gardening is a privilege only reserved for those lucky few with access to their own outdoor spaces, but cities have ample opportunities to get involved in community gardens. And this certainly doesn’t mean waiting two years plus for an allotment!
Whether you’re simply looking to get your hands dirty and spend some time outside, learn more about gardening, or you’re looking to give back to your local community through volunteering, there are plenty of activities for you to take part in.
Here’s Sugru’s rundown, from London to LA, of the best community gardening programmes near you.
Alemany is San Francisco’s only working farm with 3.5 acres of land. Offering more than just drop-in gardening sessions, their mission is to educate local residents on the practicalities and benefits of growing their own food, whilst increasing ecological awareness through weekly environmental classes. The have regular community workdays and plenty of volunteering opportunities. Oh, and did we mention they have turtles?
New York City may well be a concrete jungle, but between the skyscrapers and amongst the rooftops, you’ll find a very lively hub of urban agriculture. A popular urban farming project is the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, which operates its own seasonal market, providing local produce to neighbouring restaurants. You can volunteer there and learn about agriculture.
Los Angeles Garden Club, a non-profit corporation, offers an opportunity for LA locals to learn from its inspiring and knowledgeable members and guest speakers - all experts in horticulture. They put on lively educational meetings, hands-on activities, classes and events, welcoming gardening enthusiasts at all levels of expertise. They often go on garden tours, too! First-time guests are welcome to attend the first meet ups for free.
Just south of Brixton is Brockwell Park - a beautiful oasis with a thriving gardening community. Brockwell Park Community Greenhouses site comprises a series of beautiful gardens for the public to stroll through, and includes two greenhouses and a beekeeping station.
Volunteers are welcome to drop in on sessions, but they also offer bespoke courses and workshops to improve and gain new skills. If you fancy yourself a bit of a workout whilst gardening, there’s soil to be dug, compost to be turned and trees to be pruned! And why not get the kids involved! There are plenty of family workshops, such as honey tasting and creating things from beeswax with the London Beekeeping society!
A gardening organisation trying to make a difference, the Hulme Garden Centre’s core mission is to make Hulme and its surroundings more green, without the use of nasty chemicals or artificial fertilisers. Volunteers form an integral part of what they do, offering drop-in sessions for individuals and groups to more formal training on-site. They also work with people with learning or mental difficulties who enjoy the benefits of getting involved with plants and nature. A truly inspiring place.
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