Community Gardens Gain Popularity In Tulsa

Thursday, March 5th 2009, 5:44 pm
By: News On 6

By Tara Vreeland, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Community gardens are popping up in Tulsa neighborhoods, but some City Council members believe not everyone will use the gardens properly.

Supporters of the gardens say they are meant to promote peace and are used to grow food and help beautify the area.

"Whenever you're feeling mad or depressed and stuff and you have a community garden that you can go to ... and think about all the peaceful things that are going to happen in your life and everything," said Diana Wooten, a student in Eugene Elementary's after-school gardening program, Global Gardens.

City Councilman Jack Henderson thinks there should be rules before people just start digging.

"People get disillusioned," he said. "They leave, the garden is still there. Who's gonna clean it up and put it back together again before the garden got there? That's a concern. No one wants to bring up these concerns I brought up."

Henderson is concerned about safety and what people could plant in those gardens, like marijuana.

"There's no way to check and see if they are not," he said.

Garden supporters think the idea that someone would attempt to grow illegal substances is absurd.

"I never conceived that someone would plant marijuana in a community garden," said Mike Potter, a Global Gardens volunteer.

Global Gardens Director Heather Oakley has never heard of the misuse of community gardens.

"If there are any problems or issues, the community garden itself individually takes care of it and then they move forward," she said.

Henderson, on the other hand, says he is not against community gardens but think they need to be regulated.

"Some kind of way to write this ordinance that would write some protections in that live in those communities," he said.

As gardening season approaches, the rules on gardens could be tighter. But for the littlest gardeners, they think everyone could benefit from a garden.

"I think that's a really good idea because they are attractions for yourself," student gardener Rodney Rutherford said. "You can go out there if you're really sad or mad or something like that, you just go out there to cool down and have a good time."

City Council will briefly discuss the issue Thursday night, but the real discussion about the community gardens won't be until next week.