Tag Archives: communal gardening

At communal gardens, common sense is winning

In one of the glaring forms of communism’s failure in America, the recently revived communal garden is seeing itself as the battleground between individualism and collectivism. NPR reports:

After they carted in lots of fresh, clean soil, they decided that they were not going to stake out little individual garden plots. They’d work on the whole thing together.

“I liked that people could just show up and join the garden, as opposed to being on a wait list,” says McClain.

But there were debates about this over the years. McClain wanted to keep it a community enterprise — as Karl Marx once put it, “From each, according to his ability, to each, according to his need.” But others thought there were too many days when it seemed that because everybody owned the garden, nobody really did. And there were days when it seemed that too many people assumed that somebody else would do the work.

“It’s just really hard when you’ve got a whole lot of stuff going on and only one or two people have shown up [at the garden], and they’re expected to take care of everything,” says McClain. “In August, when it’s really hot out, it’s just kind of hard.”

So last year, the Campos Community Garden laid out some boundaries of personal responsibility: Individual plots where people get to plant and pick their very own vegetables. McClain says she has to admit that it’s helped.

Of course, if you’re an economist like Russell Roberts at George Mason University, you can say that this was completely predictable.

“Collective farming does not have a great historical record,” Roberts points out. “Collective farming is probably the main reason why the Soviet Union had about 70 years of bad harvests.”

And even if you just talk to veteran community gardeners, many of them will warn you away from communal arrangements.

And thus ensues a microcosm of libertarian cooperation, because the only logical method of getting the maximum output of labor is to let someone profit on their own terms, not a team’s.

As a side note, it was the Obama family who jump-started the garden at home thing when they moved in, this will be the third year they plant. Well, golly even they don’t share their garden’s vegetables (oddly enough, they don’t grow corn) with the growing rabble if discontents outside the gated property. And by my estimates I would say it’s a laughable measure to feed the hundreds of staff who creep through the property and adjoining Vice President’s palace on any given day.

Does that make Obama a bit of a hypocrite on the whole “blatant socialism” thing? If anything it’s just hilarious that they got kids from local D.C. schools to do that labor for free.

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