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Community gardening during lockdown – not an option

Empty shared community garden

Many of us only get to garden in shared gardens or community allotments. Lockdown obligations are strict regarding this option.

Across Europe and in several US States, rules are very clear: a community garden is not a place where you can spend quarantine time.

Read also:

Kid activities for lockdown gardening:

Community gardens, a touchy topic

What types of shared gardens are closed during coronavirus?

There are different types of community gardens.

  • Closed community gardenSome are based on public land. These are managed by municipalities or botanical gardens.
  • Others are semi-informal parks and spaces shared by members of a subdivision or homeowner’s association.
  • Still more are structured into charities or non-profits. In normal times these have the goal of giving everyone a chance to garden.
  • Lastly, there are also thousands of personal agreements. This happens when a person with a garden lets others work a small plot for themselves.

However, government decrees both at local and at national levels are applicable in all cases.

  • This is a hit for the incredible edible or food is free movements.
  • In the long run, though, ultra-local gardening solutions will certainly solve many of today’s problems.
  • Providing local food is a large part of humanity’s response to health crisis like this Covid-19 lockdown!

This is where the original meaning of the word crisis makes the most sense: “to make decisions“…

Closing and avoiding community gardens is an act of public health

Setting aside legal and government legislation, it’s also important to realize how critical the situation is.

The quarantine has the goal of avoiding and minimizing contact between people.
Most people who spread the virus don’t even shown any symptoms!

Of course, anyone who shows signs of flu such as fever, coughing and so on should stay at home. But he or she will already have spread the virus to dozens of people in the days before symptoms appear!

So it’s precisely when you feel healthy and ready to go tickle those weeds that you might be unknowingly spreading germs and viruses.

  • It isn’t a problem if you garden at home. Indeed, your home isn’t a public place where dozens of people freely come and go.

On the other hand, a community or shared garden is a very public place.

Moreover, it’s also a preferred outing for retired persons. These are the most vulnerable in case of infection!

  • To summarize the situation: for as long as the lockdown lasts, avoid community gardens.

Government statements on lockdown include all non-essential activities

Many municipalities have already clearly stated that community gardens are not permitted “quarantine spaces”, unlike private gardens.

  • Indeed, authorities still regard landscaping as an essential activity. So for the moment, it still is possible to ask for someone to trim your hedges or perform heavy work.
  • However, every company or landscaper must perform safety measures. Social distancing is even applicable to gardening!

Other activities that resemble community gardening have shut down, too. Camping isn’t possible anymore as all campsites are closed.

What about professional gardeners?

This depends on how strict the lockdown is.

Other options for nature-lovers during lockdown

Parks and wildlife conservation areas

State and National parks are still open for the moment. Smaller parks where crowding quickly occurs already have closed doors, though.

  • Implement social distancing. This is sometimes difficult on narrow, crowded trails.
  • Buildings and facilities aren’t accessible anymore.
  • Car parks cordon off every other spot to prevent people from crossing ways.

Home gardening

It’s still possible to garden even on a balcony or terrace. Setting up an indoor plant wall will make your living spaces greener. And there are lots of things you do to garden without leaving the house, even for supplies!

Reorganize houseplants

Many of your houseplants may be in need of attention.

Read up and learn

There are troves of things you can dig into. Write up a bucket list of things you wish to start when the lockdown is over. Research what you need to get things done.

These are projects you can work on for relatives that might have the space: parents, children, neighbors…

Community gardens tip: cultivate relationships

The key outcome in this time of crisis is to reflect on what’s most important: the people we love.

Street garden closed but beautifulCultivate and nurture connections you have that risk being lonely. Pick up the phone and call. Video messaging can be a great comfort to people who stay home.

Each call you place is a seed of love. It will grow and bear fruit, turning into a sweet harvest by the time the crisis will have died down.

Think about the people you might get in “touch” with while relaxing in your meditation garden.

Images: CC BY-SA 2.0: Andy Underscore, Pixabay: Christelle Olivier, Public Domain: Karen Blakeman
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