How Can Cities Grow Gardeners?

The following post comes courtesy of Global Site Plans' The Grid. CNU and Global Site Plans recently teamed up to syndicate Grid content, as its contingent of writers presents a view on the opportunities and issues of urbanization all across the world. CNU will carry select posts from the Grid direct on the CNU Salons.

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Entrance to the Oahu Urban Garden Center

The Oahu Urban Garden Center is a University of Hawaii at Manoa led initiative. A community resource, the OUGC invites aspiring green thumbs to participate in “Second Saturdays at the Garden,” a series of monthly classes that improve planters’ know-how. In addition, the OUGC offers expertise in soil analysis; this helps at-home gardeners identify nutrient deficiencies and target bothersome pests nibbling at their vegetables. The OUGC’s value to the community truly lies, however, in its programs that expose children to gardening. The center boasts a Children’s Garden, and docents regularly give students tours of the Children’s Garden or the entire center.

Pizza Garden at the Oahu Urban Garden CenterBroadly speaking, the public in Hawaii is excited about urban horticulture and agriculture. FarmRoof recently constructed a rooftop farm on an AutoMart in Kaka’ako. In 2010, concerned about residents’ consumption of produce, the Institute for Human Services’ shelter in Honolulu began a robust urban farming initiative, which includes edible landscaping, edible vertical gardens, and a rooftop aquaponics garden. Furthermore, farm-to-table restaurantKahumana Organic Farm & Cafe in Waianae has received rave reviews on Yelp, and Honolulu’s Community Recreational Gardening Program boasts 10 community gardens.

Alika Rabbit, an Adaption of the Tale of Peter Rabbit in the Children's Garden

The sustainability of these projects, and the development of additional rooftop gardens and farms, farm-to-table restaurants, and community plots requires a public that has a steadfast interest in gardening and the know-how required to cultivate flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Absent this, rooftop farms or even balcony herb gardens will not proliferate, and Honolulu’s community plots may be reclaimed by weeds like many of New York City’s. Some of the children who tour the OUGC will be inspired, and will go on to become tomorrow’s farmers, home gardeners, and perhaps evenlandscape architects.

Share the types of educational programs featured at urban horticulture projects where you live. How does your city prevent its gardens from becoming weed-strewn?

To read the original post, written by Sunny Menozzi, visit Global Site Plans.

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