Love thy neighborfood

Sending some Valentines Day love and getting all the gardens (both personal and new sites) organized and planned.  We’ll do tomatoes, bell peppers and squash at the sites, for sure.  (Thinking about trying grapes at home this year!)  We’re hoping to get more ideas at our community raising dinner later on this week, too.  Between these two events, an idea has already taken root (route?).  One of Saturday night’s attendees mentioned our community supported kitchen research, and she and I started talking about other ways communities could support each other through the garden.

Through OriginalGreen, we want the garden to be for the community in the standard ways…distributing food among residents, mobile food carts, exchanges/sales to local restaurants.  But even less formal and more available to the entire community will be trees that will be available for gleaning.  If someone wants to grab an orange from a limb overhanging the public sidewalk, we want to make it clear that that’s cool.

We talked about ways to support the neighborhoods where our sites are and how we don’t appreciate enough all the local, edible plants.  It was during this discussion that I had an “a ha! moment”: why not Community Supported Gleaning?  Why not work with a small group of residents in a limited radius to head out and pick some of the neighborhood’s overburdened fruit trees?  Then, distribute that gleaning to others utilizing the cooperative model? It would be like having your own supermarket on the street. As with most of the “a ha!” moments that present themselves around home&community inc, few are unique or pioneering (even OriginalGreen is about getting back to our growing/homemaking origins).  Indeed, a simple Google search reveals many a community supported foraging group.

But, we imagine that around and for our sites, it would be less wild berries, mushrooms and nettles and more avocados, oranges and loquats.  People would collect the fruit and distribute it to others who subscribed (a few bucks for the service) for a small box. Membership would be free. Certainly the prospect brings up all sorts of questions about regulations or permits.  Perhaps make it a “club,” as others have, so the responsibility rests with participants?  Ah, who knows?  But every community could use this kind of sharing.  Just another idea for bringing a little food appreciation and love to the neighborhood.

If you want to know where you can glean and forage, we’ve compiled a list with information for 21 states.

Happy Valentines Day.

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