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Twp. Gauges Community Garden Interest

Community garden hopefuls want to know if other Haddon Township green thumbs share their vision.

Haddon Township gardeners are putting out feelers around town to learn if residents would like a community garden.

Plans are still in the earliest possible stages. In fact, “plans” might be stretching it. The idea bubbled up at a recent Sustainable Haddon Township meeting, but there’s no definitive proposal in place yet.

“We want to see what people think. Is this something they want in town?” said Gwen Baile, community president of Sustainable Haddon Township and a master gardener. “We can’t do it if only two people are interested.”

But that’s not to say the wheels aren’t turning. At the recent meeting, hopefuls discussed possible locations, brainstorming all that a community garden needs—a water supply, enough land to accommodate many plots, some protection from nearby roadways, regulations for members.

Haddon Township is surrounded by two towns, Haddonfield and Collingswood, that run successful community gardens. Haddonfield’s garden in Crows Woods celebrated its 30th year this growing season.

Community gardens usually are a relatively inexpensive option for people who don’t have the room to garden or who simply want the camaraderie the garden offers. This past season, Collingswood charged its members $35 for plot ($40 for out-of-towners), while Haddonfield charges $40 for a half-plot for first time gardeners and $20 for a full plot for all other gardeners after their first year.

For that, gardeners get a place to grow fruit, vegetables and plants, and usually an on-site water supply. Rules often limit what gardeners can plant—no invasive species, thank you—and have regulations on clearing dead plants and rotting produce to maintain appearances.

Some community gardens even set aside a portion of their bounty for local food banks.

All of these possibilities are under discussion, Baile said, but first, Sustainable Haddon Township needs to know what kind of interest exists around town. Baile manned a table at Wednesday’s Westmont Farmers Market and with a sign soliciting gardeners to discuss options.

“There’s no obligation right now,” Baile said, “but if this is something people want, let’s start talking.”

Interested would-be gardeners can contact Baile via email at gbaile@verizon.net to get more information.

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