Forming a growing a community around you is almost as important as actually growing your food.
One great way to initially build a community is to join Facebook groups. I’m a part of three gardening groups on Facebook and I love them. They provide an easy way to access advice and support. Not only can you exchange ideas and get to show off your garden, but you can also get help for any problems that arise in your garden.
One such problem that’s gotten a lot of traction in one of the local gardening groups I’m a part of is the current Spotted Lantern Fly problem in my area. Thankfully, I’ve been blessed enough to not experience any problems with them. (And I should probably knock on wood for that one), but in being a part of the group I am more aware of what could show up in my garden. This can prove vital as I will be more prepared to handle any pests that show up. This means I can lessen my losses, which is so important because it means I can harvest and preserve more for eating during the off-season.
Sharing ideas is an awesome part of having a community around you (even just a digital one.) I cannot count the amount of times I’ve seen someone on Facebook or Instagram share a feature they’ve built in their garden or a plant their growing and have been like, “I should so do that!” So much inspiration can come out of just seeing what other people are doing. I know I definitely plan to implement some things I’ve seen in the groups I’m a part of in my garden next year.
It’s also great to get feedback on your ideas. You have access to other peoples’ experience at your fingertips which is very useful. This can help you avoid garden errors and lost time or money.
As much as I enjoy being able to interact with people who garden and grow food near me, I also really enjoy being able to see how people in other areas, climates, or even countries garden and grow food. I always learn so much from those Instagram pages, Facebook groups, and YouTube channels. It’s so neat getting to see what grows in different areas. For example, I live in a very warm and humid climate, getting to see what people in areas that are drier can grow without the diseases I face is so cool. (I do get a little jealous sometimes) It’s also nice to see what people in cooler climates can accomplish too. I’m definitely spoiled in having a seven to eight month growing season so it’s very inspiring to see people who live north of me be able to have beautiful and productive gardens in a shorter span of time.
I also love that in having a community you have an exchange of help. If you need help with a garden project and you have a strong community around you, you have people to call on. You can offer help when they need it and they’ll be there in your moment of need. I was a Girl Scout for several years and like we would say, “See a need, fill a need.”
That’s an important mentality to have even outside of just gardening and growing food. I think that that is a mentality that everyone should have in just their everyday life. We should all be willing to serve when needed. The world would be such a better place if we’d create more of a community willing to help.
I was also in FFA for all of my teen years and living a life of service is something that is instilled in us. Gardening and growing food shouldn’t be an endeavor you take on on your own. Community is important. They can help you and you can help them. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but I’d say the same is true about food.