Featured Certified Instructor Gina Chilton

Tiny space? No problem. You don’t even need a yard for Square Foot Gardening. This method was designed with variability in mind.

elevated square foot gardening bed Laura Bartholomew

Laura Bartholomew during her visit to Globeville Village Community.

This Is How Our Garden Grows

The definition of the word “collaborative” means “working together,” and that’s exactly what Gina Chilton did when she led a group of residents and volunteers to establish five Square Foot Gardens to benefit Globeville Village, a tiny home community near Denver, Colorado.

Chilton, a 10-year CI, had long followed the work of the Colorado Village Collaborative, which exists to, “…bridge the gap between the streets and stable housing by creating and operating transformation housing communities in partnership with people experiencing homelessness. We embody radical solutions…that are affordable, sustainable, and community oriented.”

Steve Bartholomew during his visit to Globeville Village Community.

Steve Bartholomew during his visit to Globeville Village Community.

Wow! That sounds so much like Square Foot Gardening itself—no wonder this was a match that was meant to be. When Chilton saw photos of the tiny homes, she knew that Square Foot Gardens would fit perfectly next to each entrance. So, she got to work by contacting an organizer for Colorado Village Collaborative, Dorothy Leyba. Although food pantries ensure that food security is not an issue for Globeville Village, Leyba knows that gardening also feeds the soul as well as the body. Once CI Gina Chilton contacted her, Leyba realized the Square Foot Gardens would be great idea for residents to learn a new skill, reestablish a routine shaken loose by COVID-19 restrictions, and nurture the spirit among residents. Plus, growing your own food is extraordinarily empowering— something everyone needs.

To cover the expenses of this vital project, Chilton applied for — and received! — a grant from the Square Foot Gardening Foundation. This funding provided elevated SFG beds made by SFG Certified Instructor Brian Fuder, as well as Mel’s Mix™, small hand trowels, watering buckets, and seeds and plants to get this project off the ground.

CI Gina Chilton and Clifton Parris delivered all of the materials and supplies, and since the gardens were being started in late August, the seeds included late-season crops such as spinach, turnips, carrots, and beets. Once the beds were set up, Chilton answered questions, explained how to plant seeds and got the group started by demonstrating how to combine components for the Mel’s Mix™— which they did. Together.

One square foot at a time — that’s our motto. While our mission is to end food insecurity around the world, it’s important to remember that this will happen little by little. From growing our own food to sharing knowledge with neighbors and friends, we get closer to our goal — one square foot at a time!

As more families and communities learn the life skill of gardening, they become nourished and fulfilled. The best part? As a Square Foot Gardener, you are a part of the solution! Your willingness to collaborate with fellow gardeners and share your knowledge is what creates a ripple effect of change.

Perhaps we’ll feed just one today, and tomorrow, we’ll feed another. Together, we’re the sum of our parts and making a real impact around the world.