Community gardens are not unusual in cities and other high-density areas, but it's an idea still a bit foreign in Lewes. For Catherine Harris and Michael Whitehouse, a community garden is less about working with your neighbors out of necessity and more about building a sense of camaraderie and civic pride.
Still in the very early stages, Harris and Whitehouse are presenting their idea to neighbors and local groups in order to muster support and move the project forward. With help, they say, they hope to begin preparing the first community garden this fall in order to begin planting next spring.
Harris said the idea comes from Lewes Parks and Rec Commissioner Lou Papp. Now, she and Whitehouse are working to make that idea a reality.
Whitehouse said he's lived in cities and bigger towns where space is at a premium, and community gardens are popular in those environments.
“In dense, urban housing, many people live in condos or apartments and don't have their own land,” he said. “Catherine and I both have gardens [in Lewes]. This is more about the community building aspect, the civic component.”
They also see the community garden as an educational opportunity, a place where more experienced gardeners can work with newcomers to build a foundation for gardening.
In their conversations with neighbors, they say they've heard some concern that a community garden could have negative impacts on the community. Harris said their only intention is to add more to the community.
“This will be small with only positive impacts,” she said. “It's not going to be a big, overwhelming venture with noise and traffic. We will start modestly.”
The path forward is not etched in stone, as Harris and Whitehouse are still working to build a small group of volunteers and find and finalize potential sites for the garden.
To learn more about the effort, email firstname.lastname@example.org.