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starting up a new community garden

Posted by westender z7 Atlanta GA (My Page) on
Tue, Oct 24, 06 at 12:30

Previously I've posted about my unfortunate experiences at community gardens. Well, now it's my turn to see whether it can be done any differently or better.

I've been given a wonderful opportunity, a lease on a small field behind my house and permission to start a community garden there. A good friend and fellow gardener who was also dissatisfied with our current community garden experience is helping me start the new garden, and together we have been able to get a start-up grant.

Now we begin work. It's a little daunting, because it's located in a residential historic district and there are lots of local ordinances we'll have to follow, permits we'll have to get, and community groups whose approval we'll have to seek. But it's exciting to know that we can start from scratch and do things the way we believe they ought to be done.

Wish me luck, and know that any helpful advice is appreciated!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: starting up a new community garden

We have created a website for our new community garden. Any feedback is appreciated!

Here is a link that might be useful: Rose Circle Community Garden Website

RE: starting up a new community garden

How is your community garden going? I've considered starting one in the small town I'm in because so many people say "I wish I had space for gardening" etc. How do you go about doing it?

I may already have space available - east end of our property. Do you charge people to cover cost of water and stuff? Any assistance would be great! Also want to hear how yours is going.

RE: starting up a new community garden

Hi, J'Lynn,

I would encourage you to start up a community garden in your town if you have people who are saying they will use it. Ours is still in its infancy; we are just now building our raised beds and I planted the first winter vegetables there on January 31. But neighbors are signing up and showing great interest, and even people who don't want to join it seem to really like the idea of having it in the neighborhood.

We are going to charge a small annual fee, $25, and as you suggested that will be to pay for water. We were able to get a grant that will pay for some of our materials and supplies; and we'll have fundraisers to pay for others. Some things we members are donating, and as time goes by we'll probably incorporate as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit so that it will be easier to get monetary donations from local businesses and individuals. Some grants require that, too.

Finding a place to have a garden seems to always be the hardest thing for people who want to have one - so it sounds like you're already a step ahead.

I think the only word of caution I'd give is to go easy on rules until you've established your members, then let them participate in setting the rules and enforcing them. Our garden grew out of dissatisfaction with another garden some of us belonged to, where the garden manager was constantly changing the rules and not letting members have any input. Some of the rules were crazy, in our opinions. One other thing we really hated was mandatory garden meetings - we joined to garden, not to attend more meetings. We all have enough meetings already in our lives. Obviously it will be necessary from time to time to get together to make plans, but we're really holding back on that in our new garden. When we have them, we want our get-togethers to be fun events that people look forward to.

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