Natural Remedies and Society: Creating a Community Garden in Your Area
Giving back to the community is something that people should be doing. I understand that giving money is quick and easy, but 99% of the funds donated are NOT given 100% to the cause. Taking matters into your own hands ensures that what you donate goes where it is intended to.
STARTING A COMMUNITY GARDEN
1.) Determine if there really is a need and desire for a garden
What kind of garden--vegetable, flower, trees, a combination?
Who will the garden serve--kids, seniors, special populations,people who just want an alternative to trash?
If the project is meant to benefit a particular group or neighborhood, it is essential that the group be involved in all phases
Organize a meeting of interested people
Choose a well-organized garden coordinator
Form committees to accomplish tasks: Funding & Resource Development; Youth Activities; Construction; Communication.
Approach a sponsor. A sponsor is an individual or organization that supports a community garden. Site sponsorship can be a tremendous asset. Contributions of land, tools, seeds, fencing, soil improvements or money are all vital to a successful community garden. Some community gardens can provide most of their provisions through fees charged to the membership; but for many, a garden sponsor is essential. Churches, schools, citizens groups, private businesses, local parks and recreation departments are all potential supporters. Community Development
List of Grants for Community Garden Funding
Grant Application Advice: Native Plant Gardens for Schools and Urban Areas - Betsey Landis © 2009. Landis shares how to avoid basic pitfalls of the grant application process, especially grants with specialized funding requirements. Great advice for any garden project seeking funding.
Grants and Contests
American Academy of Dermatology's Shade Structure Program Awards grants to public schools and non-profit organizations to install permanent shade structures for outdoor locations that are not protected from the sun, such as playgrounds, pools or recreation spaces.
2.) CHOOSE A SITE
Identify the owner of the land
Make sure the site gets at least 6 full hours of sunlight daily(for vegetables)
Do a soil test in the fall for nutrients & heavy metals
Consider availability of water
Try and get a lease or agreement which allows the space to be used at least for 3 years
Consider past uses of the land. Is there any contamination?
Is insurance something you need to consider?
3.) Know the Law: Since this is a community garden and a not for profit organization, Rules and Guidelines will sufice
By laws are rules which govern the internal affairs of an organization. They are required when you form a non-profit corporation, but are useful even if your group is a club or a group of neighbors. Many battles are won simply because one side has more pieces of paper to wave than the other. It's helpful to look over bylaws from other similar organizations if you are incorporating. Guidelines and Rules (see TROUBLESHOOTING for examples) are less formal than Bylaws, and are often adequate enough for a garden group that has no intention of incorporating.
Sample Guidelines and Rules -- Some may be more relevant to vegetable gardens than to com munity flower gardens or parks. Pick and choose what best fits your situation.
I will pay a fee of $______ to help cover garden expenses. I understand that ___ of this will be refunded to me when I clean up my plot at the end of the season.
I will have something planted in the garden by (date) and keep it planted all summer long.
If I must abandon my plot for any reason, I will notify the manager.
I will keep weeds down and maintain the areas immediately surrounding my plot if any.
If my plot becomes unkempt, I understand I will be given 1 week's notice to clean it up. At that time, it will be reassigned or tilled in.
I will keep trash and litter cleaned from the plot, as well as from adjacent pathways and fences.
I will participate in the fall clean-up of the garden. I understand that the $____ deposit will be refunded only to those who do participate.
I will plant tall crops where they will not shade neighboring plots.
4.) Trouble Shooting Issues that could create vandalism
Vandalism is a common fear among community gardeners. However, the fear tends to be much greater than the actual incidence. Try these proven methods to deter vandalism:
Make a sign for the garden. Let people know to whom the garden belongs and that it is a neighborhood project.
Fences can be of almost any material. They serve as much to mark possession of a property as to prevent entry, since nothing short of razor-wire and landmines will keep a determined vandal from getting in. Short picket fences or turkeywire will keep out dogs and honest people.
Create a shady meeting area in the garden and spend time there.
Involve the neighborhood children in learning gardens. They can be the garden's best protectors. (Plus it keeps kids entertained and busy, less time for violence)
Plant raspberries, roses or other thorny plants along the fence as a barrier to fence climbers.
5.) CHILDREN'S PLOTS
Children included in the garden process become champions of the cause rather than vandals of the garden. Therefore your garden may want to allocate some plots specifically for children. The "children's garden" can help market your idea to local scout troops, day cares, foster grandparent programs, church groups, etc.
Consider offering free small plots in the children's garden to children whose parents already have a plot in the garden.
Getting the community involved in a group project that produces a visible outcome deters crime. Community engagement promotes #Unity by:
1.) Focuses on social justice: It is through community engagement that community wisdom and science work in tandem to ensure a more balanced set of political, social, economic and cultural priorities, resulting in shared resources and shared power, thus leading to equity and social justice.
2.)Helps shape services: It is through community engagement that community wisdom and science work in tandem to ensure a more balanced set of political, social, economic and cultural priorities, resulting in shared resources and shared power, thus leading to equity and social justice.
3.) Creates an opportunity for critical reflection: Community engagement processes provide opportunities for cooperative, co-learning experiences, and critical reflection that benefits from community wisdom.
Being involved in a community project is not just good for the community but beneficial for yourself. By doing nothing, nothing changes. One way to end hunger is to start a garden in low-income areas. This way, you know where your money is going and you have a face to place when donating your time and energy. You never know, you may even gain new friends and change lives.
For garden ideas check these out from the St. Louis Missouri Area