OAKLEY -- Since the early part of the 1900s communities throughout the nation have developed local community gardens, where people could share in the harvest bounty as well as the hard work of growing vegetables, fruits and sometimes even flower beds.

A group of Oakley residents has approached the city of Oakley with the same idea in mind and is beginning to host meetings to see if there is enough interest in providing such a garden area within the city limits.

"Community gardens have been something people in Oakley have been interested in doing for a long time," said Oakley City Council member Diane Burgis, the city representative on the group. "The area's long agricultural history lends itself to a strong community garden group."

The first meetings of the group have looked at what local people want in a community garden and what is the best place location.

"We have several properties to research and discuss," said Oakley resident Paul Seger.

Seger was one of the first residents to approach the city manger about the idea of hosting a community garden. He and the group have found at least eight sites that could potentially host a community garden, although there are several issues that need to be confirmed before a site can even be chosen. One of the most important issues is whether the site has adequate water to make sure the plants can have a continual source during the warm springs and hot summer months.

Other issues include land size and whether the property would be the best possible site for a community garden in the first place. Seger said that five of the eight sites are detention basins and have share ownership with the county for use of flood control, one of the sites is located on Ironhouse Sanitary District property and a couple have a clear title.

There is also a possibility that once word gets out about the idea of a community garden that another landowner might come forward and offer their property for a community garden as well.

Since the planning is in the beginning stages, it's unknown how soon the garden could be established.

"I would love to have something in the spring, but I couldn't tell ya where we'd be. We really need a couple more doers on our team to make stuff happen," Seger said. "One thing is for sure, we are chomping at the bit to get going."

Members hopes that as meetings get going they will draw in more people with an interest in gardening or even those who would like to learn what a community garden is all about. They are also working on what type of garden they are interested in. For instance, some local community gardens simply share the produce with those who participate in the garden work and others sell their produce to local farm stands or even to farmers markets. Seger said that the group is still working on the concept for it.

"We have a great diverse group of folks coming together right now to develop a common vision of what a community garden can do and be," Burgis said. "I look forward to our future and seeing it come to fruition."

Those interested in being involved in the committee should contact Burgis at burgis@ci.oakley.ca.us.

Reach Roni Gehlke at festfan@comcast.net.