Largest Community Garden in the US
The Shiloh Field Community Garden just happens to be in Denton, TX where my son and his family are living. Today we toured it (11/23/16) and talked to the founder, Gene Gumfory. This garden has been open for seven years and they have learned a lot, most of which is very relevant for the Central Urban Farm in Anchorage, especially since both gardens are on church property.
The Shiloh Field Community Garden prides itself on being a teaching, sharing and growing garden. They welcome everyone. There are 159 individual 15x15 garden plots for anyone to use for free. You simply have to register each year. There are no fences around the garden, but each person can add fences to his/her own plot. It is open 24/7 so that gardeners can come and tend their gardens as they need to. Water is free and is supplied by the church, as are wood chips. However, they don’t allow sprinklers.
Here is the sign that is up at the
entry of the garden.
To access free fertilizer, they now have horse farms delivering to them directly as well as the tree companies. In the fall, they put out an all call for raked leaves and people just bring them. They also have all of their chicken manure. The long rows of compost mixes right there on site and stays very hot all year.
The garden also boasts 3 high tunnels for winter growing, 15-20 doz eggs a day, honey, blackberries and grapes. All of the extra food is shared with many, many organizations who feed the poor. In Denton 1 in 5 persons lives below the poverty level.
Gene recommends a committee of 4 or 5 to run the garden, which is not what he has. He is trying to manage it himself. He also recommends that every community garden organizer join the American Community Garden Association. They have lots of ideas there, he told me.
I left with lots of ideas---especially signage.