By MINDY HANAK
Gardens Program Coordinator
You’ve probably heard of arts in the park programs, a popular way to make art accessible to the public. But how about “arts in the garden”?
Talent, determination, and help from a partner have made it a real thing at Nokomis Community Garden.
The talent came courtesy of Sally Christiansen, a garden member. Sally temporarily traded in her shovel and rake for paints and brushes to add a gardening-themed mural on the door of the garden’s new storage shed. Digging into the scenes she often sees at the garden, Sally’s mural depicts a pair of happy gardeners (sporting a pose that could have come from a sunnier “American Gothic”) standing behind a harvest bounty, with a sunflower illuminating the scene.
Of course, Sally wouldn’t have had a “canvas” on which to paint without the dedicated teamwork of many garden members who made purchasing the shed a possibility. Nokomis and Laurel gardeners teamed up on construction, cleanup and myriad other garden-related projects, earning enough volunteer hours in the process to qualify for an $8,000 Neighborhood Initiative Grant. The grant, offered through the Sarasota County Neighborhood Services office, bought two sheds, ramps, taller raised-bed gardens, and other needed items for the two gardens. Garden leaders and members Sandra, Peg, Molly, and Arnie spearheaded the grant application, with assistance from Extension and Neighborhood Services staff throughout the six-month process.
All in all, this exemplifies the community spirit we regularly see at our gardens.
Community gardens allow neighbors to connect, to share interests in a space where they can cultivate produce, friendships, and community bonds. Edible gardening in Florida is hard but rewarding work, with only nominal garden fees. Grants and fundraising are essential in keeping these gardens vibrant in our neighborhoods.
If you would like to learn more about joining or giving to a community garden, please contact email@example.com. For garden locations, membership rules, and Florida vegetable gardening basics you can visit our web page. To learn more about edible gardening, consider attending one of our many fall classes.
We want to give a special thanks to Neighborhood Services and the advisory committee for supporting our community gardeners.