With the weather turning colder and the sun shining less and less everyday, it is hard for many people around Tulsa to continue to think about the beauty of the landscape.
But one group of Tulsans are doing just that, despite the time of the year. A local group of community gardeners met recently on the University of Tulsa campus to discuss how, together, they can take active steps to beautify Tulsa while providing an additional outlet for food sources.
This Community Garden Association is a spin-off of a national organization called the American Community Gardening Association, which has chapters all over the United States, predominately in places like Minneapolis, Minn.
Local organizer Nancy Moran recently visited the Minneapolis chapter to get more of an idea of how the Tulsa chapter should be ordered.
Moran, who home schools her son, became interested in community gardens when her son began reading books about sustainable agriculture. As an educational project the two of them transformed their backyard into a trial garden.
"I remember telling my son, don't be upset if nothing grows," Moran said. "I was incredibly delighted and surprised when we began having blooms, this summer we have raised all our own vegetables...I was raised as a city girl and never really knew what fresh food tasted like!"
With the surprise of her own garden successes Moran felt it was necessary to seek out other gardeners in the community. For many in the community gardens circle the idea is not to use one person's ideas over another, it is just about individuals sharing thoughts, concerns, equipment and even seeds.
Although this chapter is still in its earliest stages of development there are already several community gardens around Tulsa. TU students already have a garden they have been caring for since April. This past summer they were able to complete a crop on campus for food consumption and are very proud of the job they are doing. Don Drury and Chelsea Coleman are among a small group who maintain the garden at TU.
Drury and Coleman both stated they got involved with community gardening as a way to ensure their own food supply. Their attendance at the new chapters' meeting was to help Moran come up with goals and objectives for this newly formed club.
"We want to promote a personal food supply while being in close touch with the community and promoting a sustainable environment," Drury said. Coleman also gave thoughts on why it is important for Tulsa to form a community garden association, "This group is to help network all gardens in Tulsa, it's not about one person, it is a team effort."
In addition to TU's newly formed garden there are also other gardens that are already producing positive outcomes.
Demalda Newsome of Farmers Market in North Tulsa is one local who has taken active strives in the gardening business for the area. She is personally responsible for writing a grant and receiving $25,000 of Vision 2025 money to begin a community garden at Alcott Elementary, 525 E. 46th St. North.
As part of the North Tulsa EATS project, Newsome felt it necessary to form this garden as a way to educate the children and help with the high level of food insecurity and hunger which is so prevalent in that area. Another group forming gardens are the Tulsa Peace Fellowships who hope to have a garden up and running for the next planting season.
For many the idea of beginning a gardening group in the early stages of winter seems strange but early preparation is necessary for the growth and success of this new group. As organizers become more educated about the ideals and concerns of the community they hope to come up with a plan that will encompass all the needs in Tulsa County.
With groups like Rogers State University, the University of Tulsa, Alcott Elementary, The Tulsa Peace Fellowships, real estate brokers and many concerned area citizens involved in the initial meeting, prospects are blooming.
Moran hopes the Tulsa Community Garden Association is a group that will have staying power and help many who are in need within the community.
"We are going to eventually come to a point where we are going to need alternative methods of food consumption and energy saving techniques. Our job as a group will be to provide these outlets by growing and buying locally," Moran said, "We seem to have found peace and solace in gardening and want to take that out into this community."
As this new chapter continues to become better organized, it hopes to eventually take on partners like other schools and the Tulsa Food Bank.
To find out more about taking part in the Tulsa Community Garden Association you can call Nancy Moran at 857-1208, visit www.communitygarden.org or chat with their group at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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