5 Steps for Converting an Empty Lot into a Community Garden
Converting an empty lot in your neighborhood into a community garden helps to keep your town beautiful while giving people a place to grow fresh fruits and vegetables. If you have an empty lot you would like to convert, here are a few steps you'll need to follow.
Identify the Owner
In some cases, empty lots will belong to your local municipality. You'll need to contact your local government and request permission to use the space. The process will vary from one city to the next, so stop by city hall and ask what the process is to use the space. If the land has a private owner, you may be able to contact him or her directly for permission. The owner may allow you temporary use of the space for free, or you may have to lease the land. Contacting an attorney to help sort out the legal issues may be a good idea.
Host a Fundraiser
You'll need to have money to pay for equipment, cleanup and any potential rent you will need to pay to use the lot. Consider partnering with other people in the community to host a fundraiser for the cause, and work out an arrangement with your neighbors to determine any monthly fees people using the garden will need to pay to cover ongoing costs.
Rent a Dumpster
You'll need to remove trash from the lot, and you'll also need to get rid of some yard waste. Partner with your local dumpster rental company to find a roll-off dumpster you can use for the cleanup efforts. You may also want to keep a small dumpster on the site at all times to give your fellow gardeners a way to throw out weeds, grass clippings and other yard waste that will accumulate throughout the gardening process. Companies like Tajiri Demolition & Disposal LLC can help you with this step.
Invest in Equipment
To avoid having to bring your own gardening equipment every time you want to use the communal space, use some of the money you raised to invest in basic gardening equipment. You may also want to purchase a small shed where you can store seeds, bulbs and gardening supplies. Your dumpster rental company may be able to provide you with a roll-off dumpster and recycling bins to help keep the garden neat and tidy every day.
You'll need to figure out a way to assign space so that each person using the garden has his or her own "row to hoe." You can section the lot off with string and stakes, adding signs with each person's name to the areas. Be sure to also assign maintenance duties, such as weeding and maintaining the equipment so everyone shares in these responsibilities equally. Once you have your lot secured, cleaned, equipped and organized, you can begin to tend to your garden and create a beautiful space in your community.