Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pairing Property Owners & Gardeners

Interesting story in the SMDP today: The City of Santa Monica is considering pairing property owners with gardeners. Santa Monica doesn't have much space for community gardening, except for 117 plots spread over Main Street, Park Drive and Euclid Park. Yet, it has a lot of dingbats and gardening enthusiasts, and with the rapid invasion of mid-rise apartment and mixed-use buildings throughout the city, combined with an increasing eco-consciousness about buying and growing locally, plus economic hardships, the waiting list for the opportunity to cultiver son jardin is bloated.

In contrast, neglected private plots and gardens can be spotted everywhere. The solution, and an option explored by City Hall: "To create a registry that would match prospective growers with private property owners who have the land but not the time to garden," says the SMDP. Councilman Kevin McKeown calls it "urban sharecropping."

There is no denying the problems such arrangements may generate: who gets the crops? are they shared? can owners agree to a "pairing" period long enough to produce those crops? what about privacy? Yet in the end, it is a move, or at least a proposal, in the right direction. And it reaffirms the renewed, fascinating trends in urban farming and community involvement.
photo of Main Street community gradens Brandon Wise via SMDP

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