Le Jardin Verde Urban Community Garden - Come Grow Your Own Garden
CURRENT COORDINATION – 2021: Site has achieved initial plan goals. Current goals include continuing on building soil health of the garden through soil testing, cover cropping, and mulching.
- Reduction of Water Usage: Rose and Charlie met with ABCWUA (Richard and Rebecca)
May 4th to discuss different water-wise strategies for the garden. This year the garden has saved thousands of gallons of water due to their changed irrigation practices and watering extensively with the rain water harvesting barrels. The barrels have allowed Le Jardin Verde to use 25% more of their garden for planting. Neighbors lend their rooftops to help with rainwater catchment to irrigate soil. The site now has a total of 11 water catchment tanks provided through the Urban Ag coalition. They are currently connected by garden hoses with plans to replace with in-ground pex lines next year. The water barrels are really helping with water consumption. The garden coordinators think they will be able to have the garden full this year without going over their water limit. The Permaculture Grant has supported the garden through purchase of irrigation fittings and supplies.
- Two jujube tree trees produce a prolific amount of suckers which offer the garden an opportunity to create a small jujube nursery for sell/trade to assist with water bills. Saturday breakfasts in the garden feed neighbors and offer a place for idea sharing, friendship building and volunteer opportunities.
- Bee Health and More Gardens: The beehive continues to be healthy and is supported by a host of pollinating plants including plants featured in two back rows of the garden. These additional garden beds, compost, and mulch were all supplied by the Presbyterian Grant through the Health Equity Council, which has contributed an additional 25 lbs of vegetables this season so far.
- The Owners closed the garden when Covid-19 began, but allowed prior gardeners to plant their plots. They did not open it to new people and were not able to have their garden breakfasts that were held every other Saturday because of Covid. Other virus mitigation strategies included not going over to the garden if someone else was there. “The best part of the garden is the fun and fellowship which we are looking forward to soon!”
PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS – 2020:
- A new sign was designed by youth food justice interns and painted by one of the on-site gardeners. 2 youths came into the garden during COVID 2020 and made a “ Come Grow Your Own Garden” sign which is big, colorful, and inviting, and has inspired the gardeners at Le Jardin Verde to nickname their garden: “Come Grow Your Own Garden!”
- Upcoming plans include installing 4 raised beds in an underutilized section of the site.
PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS – 2019:
- Le Jardin Verde was approved for a Conditional Use exception to allow for a community garden in the existing R-2 zone in 2010.
- The garden has ~22 plots available for lease on an annual basis, although they are currently not leasing all available plots due to water cost issues.
- In the summer of 2019 the garden acquired 5 – 250 gallon water catchment tanks from the Nature Conservancy, who also delivered and installed the tanks on-site at no charge to the garden.
- A garden work day was held this summer where several youth food justice interns came to the site and assisted the growers in various types of work needed.
- The work day also served as a learning experience for the youth interns and exposed them to a traditional community garden type of urban agriculture.
- The Owners of Le Jardin Verde are interested in working with the City of Albuquerque and ABCWUA to reduce water costs which would allow them to increase the number of active garden plots and thereby increase food production in the garden.
- The garden coordinators have developed a set of by-laws for the garden which can be used and/or modified for other urban agriculture projects.
- Water cost is a barrier that has prevented full utilization of the garden’s capacity. Working with the ABCWUA along with strategic use of water catchment systems can reduce the burden of paying for water throughout the year.