Welcome to the TROPICS.Now start TO LEARN SPANISH-CREOLE-CARIBEAN and HOW TO ADAPT to the TROPICAL HEAT!Are you kidding me?Most people who want to start a garden think about HIRING a MIGRANT FARMER to do the DONKEY DIRT work while they only want to eat the fruits and veggies, no sweat included!
We need to UNDERSTAND and be AWARE of the following BASIC CONCEPTS before we break grounds:
1-Organic Gardening in the TROPICS is not same as Organic Gardening UP-NORTH.The following variables and differentials must be accounted for before we embark on the endeavor:
a-We must accept the fact that there is going to be heat and sweat and dirt on our hands and clothes.Being a partner WITH OTHERS AND THE earth IS GREAT, BEING a spectator or supervisor is not enough!
b-We need to shift awareness gears from COLD North to Hot South .Meaning , we must get out of the AIR-Condition comfort Zone first and get our body used to theOUTDOORS TROPICAL CLIMATE.
c-CONSIDER:Breathing exercises , ergonomics lessons on how to use the body in performing garden work without injuries.Also procure ergonomical garden tools too!Reading a gardening book or taking a virtual class via THE INTERNET OR THE PHONE are not enough.One must have HANDS ON LEARNING EXPERIENCE !Look for local small farmers who offer HANDS ON GARDENING workshops not just THEORIES VIA CYBERSPACE or TELECONFERENCE!You must be in the GARDEN to learn about GARDENING!
d-In order to learn the way of COMMUNITY ORGANIC GARDENING you must toss away your EGO.Instead you need to start thinking in the WE-GO way! We come in UNITY in the community concept.If you do take issues with people of color or tan or of those who speak another language which you do not understand,get over it!Learning means you need to have an open mind and a desire to learn even if it takes to listen .Diversity is the common grounds in the community garden!
e-All MEN AND WOMEN are created equal.So ,FORGET ABOUT BEING THE BOSS OR THE FIRST IN COMMAND !LEARN INSTAED TO EMPLOY your hands without working your mouth with profanity or your mind with prejuidice in case you are a chovanist or consider yourself of a better race.Accepting others is very important in the community garden for a simple reason: You are a member of the community garden with other human beings who share with you equally the rights and duties .
F-HERE IN SOUTH FLORIDA WE HAVE sand NOT soil .sO, START THINKING ABOUT MAKING YOUR OWN COMPOST AND LEARNING THE KNOW HOW OF MAKING YOUR OWN SOIL!THERE ARE OPTIONS OF BUYING OR USING OTHERS PREPARED SOIL .BE EDUCATED ABOUT THE SOIL YOU WANT BECAUSE WHAT 'S IN IT MIGHT HAVE A NEGATIVE IMPACT ON YOUR HEALTH !(EX:HEAVY METALS-CHEMICALS-PHARMACEUTICALS -UNSAFE OR UNCERTIFIED HUMAN SLUDGE ETC)!
2-Once a plan is drafted to start a community garden, the following must be established :
a-A DOING IT TEAM versus a TALK ABOUT IT TEAM!
b-A BUDGET-A NAME-A CO-ORDINATOR-A PLOT FOR EACH MEMBER.
c-A RULES AND REGULATIONS PROTOCOL with pertinent CONTRACTS and AGREEMENTS .
3-Classes and workshops to educate the members are essential.An experienced LOCAL ORGANIC FARMER with certification from a local Horticultural institute is commendable to fascilitate the LEARNING PROCESS.
4-COMMUNITY GARDENING is a NEW working arena and a learning process.It is afterall a collective endeavor that needs to focus on the group and not on the INDIVIDUAL only!Here in the South , we had slaves assigned to the plantations work in earlier 15th-19th centuries ,and now we hire migrant farmers while we ourselves disdain doing this kind of MENIAL work and have NO RESPECT in general for people who do it! This ATTITUDE needs to change if we want to have a successful PRODUCTIVE COMMUNITY GARDEN!
5-There ARE LOTS OF vacant plots THAT CAN BE TRANSFORMED INTO COMMUNITY GARDENS HERE IN SOUTH FLORIDA.THERE ARE LOTS OF ATTEMPTS THAT ENDED UP IN FAILURE BECAUSE THERE WAS A LACK OF UNDERSTANDING AND AWARENES OF COMMUNITY CONCEPT AND OTHER CULTURAL-FINANCIAL ISSUES ETC!!