Resources for Community Gardening
A working ranch for more than 100 years, Babcock Ranch’s tradition is rooted in the fertile soil of Southwest Florida.
Town maker Kitson & Partners is dedicated to maintaining that tradition in the development of the new town of Babcock Ranch. Among the benefits of living at Babcock Ranch: access to your community garden.
For example, Babcock’s first community, Lake Timber, has established a community garden even before the first homes are built. The garden, which is the size of a football field, is dedicated to the Lake Timber residents and it’s where they can grow their own fruits and vegetables. (You can read more about Lake Timber here.)
Community Gardening Gaining Popularity
Community gardens have experienced a revival in the U.S. as people seek out nutritious food and community development. The organization says there are an estimated 18,000 community gardens throughout the U.S. and Canada. According to the nonprofit American Community Gardening Association, community gardening improves peoples’ quality of life by providing a catalyst for neighborhood and community development, stimulating social interaction, encouraging self-reliance, beautifying neighborhoods, producing nutritious food, reducing family food budgets, conserving resources and creating opportunities for recreation, exercise, therapy and education.
The gardening association offers helpful resources for beginner and advanced gardeners on its website. The site also includes a forum where members can ask and answer questions.
A good place to start learning about community gardens in the Sunshine State in the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension. It defines a community garden as a collaborative greenspace in which the participants share in both the maintenance and the rewards.
There are two major approaches to community gardening, per the institute. In the individual plot approach, the garden is subdivided for personal use. In the common greenspace approach, garden members cooperate in managing one area and each member is responsible for a set of tasks.
The institute’s website has useful information for community gardeners in Florida, where the soil and weather conditions are different from other parts of the country. For example, you can read about vegetable gardening in Florida here.
The Florida Cooperative Extension Service provides education to help community garden development throughout the state. Cooperative extension agents and master-gardener volunteers can provide educational assistance for community garden projects. If there is sufficient interest, extension agents can organize workshops on a wide variety of topics. For more information about the Florida Cooperative Extension Service, visit http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu. To find your county extension office, visit www.extension.org.
Community gardens are a natural extension of Babcock Ranch’s environmental sustainability vision, which seek to ensure that residents can meet their current needs in harmony with the environment. You can read about our town’s sustainability vision here.
Agriculture and the History of Babcock Ranch
Fact is, agriculture has always been an integral part of the history of Babcock Ranch. Once called Crescent B Ranch, the area that once totaled 91,000 acres was home to ranchers and farmers. In fact, farming will continue for another decade while the town grows on 18,000 acres. The remaining 74,000 acres of what once was Crescent B Ranch is now owned by the state as a preserve in perpetuity. You can read more about the history of Babcock Ranch and its agricultural heritage here.
To learn more about community gardening and other amenities at Babcock Ranch, contact us today.