Now were gearing up for the warm season, which would be your squash, cantaloupe [and] tomatoes, said Ray Ridlen, horticulturist from Oklahoma State Universitys Oklahoma City campus.
Ridlen, who offers gardening sessions several times a year, saw an abrupt uptick in efforts to establish metro-area community gardens when the economy declined. He estimated hundreds of them at churches, schools, charities and elsewhere; for his community gardening session this year, more than 15 such gardens were represented.
Its a win-win situation, Ridlen said. Its good exercise. Its good for the kids; they get to nurture something. They get introduced [to vegetables and fruits].
Its also a cost-effective way to put high-quality, often-organic edibles on dinner tables. The Regional Food Bank of Oklahomas (RFBOK) Urban Harvest program helps community gardeners get started by providing plants and seeds.
Most of these are youth or charitable gardens that share their produce with Oklahomans in need, or [we] educate limited resource students, said Mason Weaver, Urban Harvest director.
Many community gardeners return the favor by donating excess bounty to RFBOK.
We prefer to help connect gardeners with their nearest food pantry so their produce can be as fresh as possible when its distributed, Weaver said. Fresh-food access for the clients served by the Regional Food Bank and our partner agencies is an absolutely critical step in the fight against hunger in Oklahoma.
Jennifer Gooden Seibold, the City of Oklahoma Citys sustainability manager, said budding community
gardeners dont need a license or permit, but they should be mindful
that weeds dont grow higher than 12 inches, and not to put gardens in
the citys right-of-way or sight triangles.
But there is no need to go to the [citys] development center for in-ground gardens, she said.
However, if community gardeners want to build storage sheds, they must submit project plans with a legal description of the property to the development services department.
To become involved or get more information, Ridlen is putting together a database on upcoming classes and educational opportunities.
We want to be able to bring the [community gardening] stakeholders together, he said.
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