Resources for Starting a Faith Based Community Garden – 2013

George Fox students help out in the Mustard Seed Garden

George Fox students help out in the Mustard Seed Garden

Each year, as you know I like to update my resource lists. Here are the best sites and suggestions I have come across since I posted my list last year. I have already written some comments on the topic of community gardens this year:

Creating A Faith Based Community Garden – Much to Reflect On

And if this does not provide enough reading for you, you might also like to check out this list of resources for urban farmers:

My Top 10 Urban Farming Books

My Favourite Urban Farming WebSites

Note: This is partly reposted from last year’s list with some additions and deletions where links have changed.

Resources for Creating a Faith Based Community Garden

Some resources from my friends at ARocha Canada

And from England

  • Grow Zones – a community growing resource started by Earth Abbey in the UK, that brings people together locally to help one another grow fruit and vegetables in their own gardens. Participants are supported by the Grow Zones Kit, which is designed to make the prospect of growing fruit and vegetables a less burdensome, more enjoyable prospect and overcome the obstacles to ‘growing your own’.
  • Earth Abbey

As well as my own book To Garden with God, you may also find the following books on spirituality and gardening helpful

Resources-Curricula for Churches / Faith communities

From Catholic Community Gardens

Some of these ideas are a little repetitive but I also loved: 

And of course there are dozens of seed calalogues and websites which also often include very helpful newsletters and videos on how to grow vegetables.  My favourites  are:

This year I have taken Seeds of Change off my list (see explanation here)





Time to Plan Your Garden

Time to plan the garden OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If you are like me, and you live in the Northern Hemisphere, now that Christmas is over, you are probably dying to get out into the garden even though here is snow on the ground.  And the seed catalogues that start arriving the moment the Christmas frenzy is over certainly don’t help. So if you can’t get outside (or even if you can but just don’t want to go sloshing through the rain and mud, here are a couple of websites that you might like to check out to at least to give you the feel of being outside.  They are great planning tools.

BBC’s Virtual Garden – it has a fun 3D function on the site and is free

Kitchen Garden Planner – part of the gardener’s supply website which is one of my favourite places to look for seed starter supplies and self watering pots.  This is also free.

Better Homes and gardens also has this free planner – not so helpful for vegetables though. This website has some great hints for gardening on it.  The garden design function costs $20/year

I really like the look of this garden planner  that Mother Earth provides. It does cost $25/year after the first month’s free trial (which I am about to try) but it looks far better than the rather limited free versions above and I am always ready to pay for good advice.

My Top 10 Urban Farming Books

urban farm magazine

urban farm magazine

Last week I posted a list of websites and other resources on community and urban farming. In one of the comments I promised a list of urban farming books. So here it is and to be honest I borrowed a lot from the list at a site which I highly recommend to you as well. I have not read all the books (too busy gardening) but am putting some of them on my Christmas list so that I can go dig into them over the winter months.

1. The Urban Farm Handbook, by Annette Cottrell and Joshua McNichols: the authors share their own food journeys along with those of local producers and consumers who are changing the food systems in the Pacific Northwest. A great book whether you live in the Northwest or not.

2. All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. I loved the original version and still find it to be an extremely useful book for planning my garden though I am not quite as obsessional with the grid as he is.


3. The Essential Urban Farmer, by Novella Carpenter:

4. Urban Homesteading, by Rachel Kaplan: Expert urban homesteader Sundari Elizabeth Kraft shares her hands-on knowledge of: growing organic foods and preserving them; composting; raising small livestock and chickens; generating electricity and biofuels; and other ways to cut costs and live green.

5. Your Farm in the City, by Lisa Taylor: This book is put out by my local Seattle Tilth. Their Seattle Tilth Northwest Garden Guide has been one of my favourite resources for years and I am looking forward to reading this one too.

6. The complete book of Edible Landscaping. by Rosalind Creasy. This was the first book that I bought on urban farming in the days when few people were talking about it. I still think it is one of the best resources available.

7. The Urban Homestead, by Kelly Coyne and Eric Knutzen: According to this book covers more than you can possibly imagine and will inspire you to try new things. I have not read it yet but have added it to my wish list.

8. Urban Farm Magazine, This is my favourite magazine on urban farming. (along with YES and Mother Earth).

9. Mother Earth News Magazine. This is another favourite which was the source for the no knead bread recipes I posted recently.

10. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Urban Homesteading, by Sundari Elizabeth Kraft: This book covers the basics as well as everything from composting to clean energy. Again I have not read this but it has jumped to the top of my wish list because of its broad base of information.

Would love to hear about your favourite books and resources too.

My Favourite Urban Farming Sites

Garden day at the Mustard Seed House

Garden day at the Mustard Seed House

This morning I posted a link to this inspiring article An Urban Farm in Portland Feeds Local Neighbourhood with Help from the Disabled It comes from one of my favourite urban farm sites City Farmer News.  That made me realize that it is a while since I have posted any urban garden resources so I thought it was time to change that.

Here is the list that I posted last year in More Resources for Creating a Faith based Community Garden

Here are some other great sites to check out:

City Farmer News. This really is a site worth spending some time on. It is based in Vancouver but shares stories from all round the world.

Growing Cities provides a great hub for the urban farming movement in the US but also includes stories from all over the world.

Eagle Street Rooftop Farm. I love this inspiring example of creativity – rooftop farming on the top of an old bagel factor in Brooklyn NY

Reading International Solidarity Centre. This site has some great information on English urban gardens – from rooftops to schools.

Urban Beekeeping for those keen to have there own honey

Vertical Veg  another great UK site for those that need to grow up rather than out.

Community Gardens At A Rocha Community gardens are growing in number and size across Canada and elsewhere. A Rocha resources help facilitate starting and maintaining a community garden. Hopefully A Rocha US will soon start a similar network in the US.

Backyard for those wanting to join the current craze for keeping chickens.

Obviously there are many sites out there with great resources for the urban farmer. What are your favourites?