Getting volunteers for the Demo Garden

hagey(z5 MI)October 29, 2004

We would like to know if anyone can give us some ideas to encourage volunteers to the Demonstration Garden for Community Gardens. My husband and I have spent over 600 hours together in these gardens and do not seem to get any help. The coordinator has tried to get people to help by giving them seeds, plants, and produce, but no one seems to stay after coming once. This year we have given a lot of food to the Food Bank and we would like to know how other gardens get volunteers to help. The other gardens that people have as their own usually end up weedy and no one seems to care. We need some ideas that have worked. Thanks. Betty

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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

Is there a local gardening club you could contact? You'll find lots of people who LOVE to garden. I'm in NY, but our garden club likes to be involved in projects that benefit the community. Everyone is time-constrained, but we usually have a few "group work nights" and some people volunteer more frequently. Currently we take care of the roses in the town park, plant and maintain gardens around the senior housing, and plant for habitat for humanity. Not that we are looking for more work, but every year they ask if people know of other community projects, because we like to try something new. We usually try to find where we can donate a couple hundred dollars annually to something "horticultural" also. This is a small rural area, and there are no community gardens, or that is exactly the kind of project we would get involved in.

5 years ago I lived and gardened in another state's community gardens, and loved it! Now I have a lot of land, so found a garden club as a way to find like-minded garden addicts.

Our garden advertises its meetings in the pennysaver, and posted signs at the local library.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2005 at 7:11AM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

Also, see this other post in this forum for good ideas:

How do you attract people to the garden?

People in there mention free food, etc.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2005 at 7:19AM
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This is a real problem, especially if you have a target audience of people that do not understand "community". We have the property, we have a number of gardeners willing to help, and we have a number of people tht would garden if we establish the rules and set up the garden and make it totally ready for them to come in and harvest, but don't ask them to work on rules, or set up, or figure out how to get water to the site (you need to ask the city to do that). All that "stuff" just happens.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2005 at 7:53AM
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runningriot(z4 MN)

Our community garden has a similar problem: the same small group of people are the ones who perform all the work that keeps the garden running. With over 175 plots, there are lots of tasks needed over the season. We instituted a policy a few years ago that each plotholder must perform 4 hours of service per season. We let them decide which jobs they'd like. It has created work for coordinators and supervisors, to make sure the jobs are getting done, but it has resulted in more people participating. There are still people who don't complete much volunteer time, but the situation is much better than before

    Bookmark   March 1, 2005 at 10:34AM
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Our community garden has been thriving for years. We have more gardeners wanting plots than plots to give! If there is no local gardening club, you could possibly start one. Ours meets once a month, and we get advertising by way of our property owners association newsletter. I've also published a website for the garden club, and I've submitted it's link wherever I could. The site is

    Bookmark   March 28, 2005 at 1:14PM
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