the novice gardener
Citizen Gardener rises up, teaches basics of urban farming
The name Citizen Gardener is so Orwellian, you’d expect it to involve an overall-clad proletariat wielding shovels and pitchforks secretly meeting in clandestine locations, plotting to subvert The Party. Which isn’t that far off. About the shovels and meeting up, I mean. No one is trying to subvert anything here. Wink.
In fact, far from subversion, the program is all about empowerment. Part of the Grow Local program coordinated through the Sustainable Food Center, Citizen Gardener teaches anyone who signs up all the basics needed to get started in urban farming. These hands-on classes take place at one of our many local community gardens, so in addition to learning how to produce their own food, Austinites who participate in the program also are contributing to the greater good.
One site that has benefitted is the New Day community garden (which also has an active Facebook page). “New Day started with raised beds from Citizen Gardener. We actually installed gardens and rainwater harvesting and composting at the site. Not only do we create and construct everything in the class curriculum, but also the sites benefit as well,” says Joshua Keppel, the Grow Local Education Coordinator. Keppel was brought in specifically to incorporate Citizen Gardener into the Grow Local program.
“Basically we structure it to create a community of gardeners who can go back out into their community and share some of their knowledge.The goal is to create a self-sufficient garden cycle that is easy for people to set up and take care of.”
Keppel estimates over 600 people have completed the curriculum, which is led by Master Gardeners. Participants need no prior experience whatsoever. From building raised plantings beds, to composting and rainwater harvesting, they give you the tools to become a revolutionary. Even better, they do it in just three weeks.
Ready to join the cause? The next round of classes start later this month. Pitchforks and overalls optional.