If you are a renter, you may think gardening is not possible for you. After all, if you do have a yard, it is not yours to dig up and create a garden. Often, you may not even have room to garden. However, there are other ways you can garden even if you are a renter, and you’ll reap the rewards of much lower grocery bills during the growing season.
Many urban areas offer community gardens for the residents. You will have to follow some rules such as keeping your garden free of weeds and not using pesticides as well as picking the fruits and vegetables when they are ripe rather than letting them languish on the vine, but these rules are what you should be doing anyway. We signed up for a community garden this year for a $20 refundable fee. Our kids are excited about watching our plants grow and I am looking forward to the many benefits of gardening, especially getting organic vegetables for pennies. I am looking forward to a substantial drop in our grocery bill. To find a community garden in your area, try to search the Internet with the terms “community garden” and your city and state.
CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)
If you prefer not to do your own gardening or you can’t find a community garden, consider a CSA (community supported agriculture). When you join a CSA, you pay up front at the beginning of the season for your fruits and vegetables for the summer and fall. (Many CSAs begin in early June and run through early October.) You do take a risk with the farmer; if the farm floods or the weather affects the crops, you may not get a full season’s worth of produce. However, these events are usually rare or the farmer can replace the damaged crops with other crops.
A CSA typically costs $500 to $800 upfront, which can be quite a bit for a family to come up with at once. However, a few CSAs allow you the chance to work for them to pay for your fruits and vegetables. In this bartering arrangement, you either work a few hours a week on the farm or you work a few hours a week at the farmer’s market where the farm sells their crops. In our area, the bartering “wage” works out to about $8 or $9 per hour. For your labor, you get organic fruits and vegetables. If you have more time than you have money, this is an excellent arrangement to take advantage of.
A great place to find local CSAs is localharvest.org. The farm may openly advertise a bartering arrangement, or you can call them and ask if they have such an arrangement.
Organic produce, while good for you, can be very expensive. Growing a garden or using a CSA is an excellent way to afford organic produce, even if you rent and can’t create a gardening space in your backyard.
This article was originally posted on another blog of mine, but I think it fits in well here.