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How Can Cities Grow Gardeners?

How Can Cities Grow Gardeners?

The Oahu Urban Garden Center is a University of Hawaii at Manoa led initiative. A community resource, the OUGC invites aspiring green thumbs to participate in “Second Saturdays at the Garden,” a series of monthly classes that improve planters’ know-how. In addition, the OUGC offers expertise in soil analysis; this helps at-home gardeners identify nutrient

Entrance to the Oahu Urban Garden Center

The Oahu Urban Garden Center is a University of Hawaii at Manoa led initiative. A community resource, the OUGC invites aspiring green thumbs to participate in “Second Saturdays at the Garden,” a series of monthly classes that improve planters' know-how. In addition, the OUGC offers expertise in soil analysis; this helps at-home gardeners identify nutrient deficiencies and target bothersome pests nibbling at their vegetables. The OUGC's value to the community truly lies, however, in its programs that expose children to gardening. The center boasts a Children's Garden, and docents regularly give students tours of the Children's Garden or the entire center.

Pizza Garden at the Oahu Urban Garden CenterBroadly speaking, the public in Hawaii is excited about urban horticulture and agriculture. FarmRoof recently constructed a rooftop farm on an AutoMart in Kaka'ako. In 2010, concerned about residents' consumption of produce, the Institute for Human Services' shelter in Honolulu began a robust urban farming initiative, which includes edible landscaping, edible vertical gardens, and a rooftop aquaponics garden. Furthermore, farm-to-table restaurant Kahumana Organic Farm & Cafe in Waianae has received rave reviews on Yelp, and Honolulu's Community Recreational Gardening Program boasts 10 community gardens.

Alika Rabbit, an Adaption of the Tale of Peter Rabbit in the Children's Garden

The sustainability of these projects, and the development of additional rooftop gardens and farms, farm-to-table restaurants, and community plots requires a public that has a steadfast interest in gardening and the know-how required to cultivate flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Absent this, rooftop farms or even balcony herb gardens will not proliferate, and Honolulu's community plots may be reclaimed by weeds like many of New York City's. Some of the children who tour the OUGC will be inspired, and will go on to become tomorrow's farmers, home gardeners, and perhaps even landscape architects.

Share the types of educational programs featured at urban horticulture projects where you live. How does your city prevent its gardens from becoming weed-strewn?

Credits: Photographs by Sunny Menozzi. Data linked to sources.

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Sunny Menozzi's military duties have taken her to diverse and exciting places, from Singapore to Arizona, South Korea to Afghanistan, and North Carolina to Hawaii. Sunny's travels inspired her interest in cities, especially how they function, the imp...

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