For community gardeners, beauty can come in many forms. For Kirsten Saylor of the Twin Cities organization Gardening Matters, community gardens create space for “people coming together, but also the beautiful, tangible experience of making something beautiful.”
Increasing local food access, building relationships across difference, and making neighborhoods beautiful are all on the agenda for Gardening Matter’s sixth annual Community Garden Spring Resource Fair. The fair will take place on Saturday, March 27 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Sabathani Community Center, 310 E. 38th Street, Minneapolis.
In from Detroit to give the keynote talk will be Ashley Atkinson, who works with the Garden Resource Program at the organization, The Greening of Detroit. Atkinson will share insights from Detroit’s community garden system, which relies on a network of garden clusters, allowing people to garden – and build community – right where they live.
Atkinson’s talk at 9:30 a.m. will kick off a series of workshops on topics ranging from sustainable landscaping and tool libraries to building inclusive community gardens and green jobs. Encompassing the ecological, horticultural, and social dimensions of community gardening is something Saylor says attracts new and longtime gardeners to the fair.
“It’s about having the tools literally and having access to the land, but also the knowledge about getting people together. All these things are valuable, and what people love about the resource fair is the networking, and the different kinds of classes.”
Both the fair and garden clusters create opportunities for gardeners to connect, sharing tips and skills. “Community crosses people with a range of backgrounds, ages, and talents,” Saylor says.” Everyone has something to contribute.”
Moreover, relationship-building skills help keep community gardens sustainable and successful. While digging seems easy and tempting when the weather starts to warm, Saylor says she sees the fair as an opportunity to “take the time to properly plan, to include neighbors and stakeholders in a project’s planning, before starting to dig.”
A $5 donation is suggested, and parking is free.