I am writing in response to the article titled “New community garden in Olympia provides therapeutic value for veterans,” published on The Olympian website on Jan. 19. I am a community member of the Olympia westside neighborhood, and would like to express my wish for a push in building more community gardens to support the needs of the community.
Many residents do not have access to foods that are healthy and culturally appropriate, and while there are several community gardens in Olympia, there is a large region south of Harrison Avenue Northwest that has little to no access to public growing space. Two major roadblocks in growing our own food are the rules of homeowners associations preventing front yard gardening, and land use regulations that do not allow for community garden specific zoning.
Community gardening has many benefits; it can help us to develop resilience, self-reliance, and a strong sense of community within a neighborhood. To support a culture of good food and togetherness we need to work together, creating spaces where hunger and loneliness do not exist.
I urge all readers to join or start a community garden space, to research and change your homeowner association rules on front yard gardening, and most importantly, to petition the city of Olympia to modify zoning maps to include dedicated space for permanent community gardens.