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How do you attract people to the garden?

Posted by susan_z5_MO z5, MO (My Page) on
Sat, Dec 13, 03 at 13:02

My garden club started a community garden in the subdivision I live. It is located in a flood plain.(This is the only place where we could put it) We are unable to get any water to the garden, except from the rain. Therefore, we didn't plant any veggies. We have planted drought and flood tolerant perennials, grasses, and shrubs. On Arbor day we hold a small celebration that includes free tree seedlings to visitors, activities for kids such as rock painting and building birdhouses. Unfortunately, we do not have a big turnout. We pass out flyers and set up signs on the day but it doesnt seem to help. Any suggestions to improve the turnout for our Arbor Day celebration. And any other suggestions for activities at the garden

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: How do you attract people to the garden?

I would try contacting local garden centers to inform their customers, and I would also try contacting local radio stations. Especially any AM stations with gardening programs.

RE: How do you attract people to the garden?


I've been lurking and enjoying this forum and this thread.

Truly, no matter how good the cause; if you want to attract people offer free food. Doesn't have to be much...just some bbq hotdogs and sodas would do the trick. You might be able to get the food donated if you contact the local merchants in exchange for acknowledging the donations.

That old saying that the way to man's heart is through is stomach is so true. Once they've partaken of the free food, most will be a captive audience.

Also, things like balloons, streamers, music and such is likely to draw bigger crowds. The suggestion to get a local radio station involved is a really good one.

Yes, the arbor day celebration is a great cause, but to be successful to the general public it has to be fun in some way.

Good luck with this very worthwhile project.



RE: How do you attract people to the garden?

No water, huh? I'm sure that in time, as the garden gains status, you'll be able to get a connection to the city water lines.

Or maybe drill a well, or pump water from the nearby stream?

For attracting people: how about an Easter Egg Hunt? Or maybe a 4th of July picnic? You could have face painting, a local musical group, and SELL hot dogs and lemonade. The watermelon could be free, perhaps. This could become a fundraiser for you guys.

Just throwing out ideas!

RE: How do you attract people to the garden?

Susan, are you certain there aren't any other sites which have access to water? Have you tried to meet with the town officials or the Public Works Dept. They may be able to give you some inside info others are not privy to with respect to parcels of land which are town owned. In the past, I served as Volunteer Manager to a community gdn. There were 45 plots, 10'x10' divided by paths. Compost and mulch was provided by the township. The participants grew vegetables, flowers and pumpkins, watermelons, etc. In Sept. a harvest festival was held at the library with entries of vegs, etc. The Master Gardeners selected the winners and desserts and beverages were served. Desserts baked by gardeners. Prizes for best entries of a class were given. At any given time, we did not have more than 40 people attend. But an important topic was also discussed e.g. lyme disease, container gardening, etc. by a MG. Also, they have a speakers bureau with an endless list of topics of interest to your group.

Booklets were printed with the rules and printed flyers were distributed throughout town on poles, library, shopping malls and stores to advertise a week in advance.

I would also check with the Master Gardeners Association to see if they have any knowledge of sites for a Community Gdn. Ours was situated at the rear of the First Aid Squad Bldg. which was formerly a holding area for the township's trees.

Your activities are wonderful. Are children involved in your gardening activities?

Hope my ideas were helpful but not exactly what you were looking for in the way of activities. Good luck.


RE: How do you attract people to the garden?

Hi, Thank you for all of your responses. I have taken you up on the food suggestion. We've decided to offer free hot dogs, chips, and dessert at the event. In regards to the water, I don't see a place nearby where we can access water. The nearest building is a house which is about 300 feet away. The garden is near the Katy Trail which used to be a rail road track. They turned it into a gravel path for bikeriding. The garden is also near the Missouri River but not close enough to get water from. We could start another garden somewhere but right now I just don't have the time. I'm busy raising my 4 yr old son and taking care of my 1 acre landscaped yard. I'm not going to invest much more time in this garden. I'm not receiving the interest that I thought I would have. Hopefully, we will have a better turn out at our Arbor day this year. Honestly, I think the majority of this community just want to be left alone. They don't see the benefits of bringing a community together. I think in this busy world we're just growing farther apart.
Thanks again.

RE: How do you attract people to the garden?

Don't forget to send a news release about your upcoming event to the local (or nearby) newspapers, radio and television stations. And, call the broadcast folks and offer to be a guest on one of their news or public affairs programs. I used to produce and host a morning talk show here in Des Moines and we were eager to interview guests involved in community projects like this. Perhaps there's something similar in your market.

You might also try to find a local or regional gardening expert who would be willing to come in and volunteer to do a short how-to or informational presentation on xeriscaping, which is landscaping with drought-tolerant plants! Maybe the promise of a quick workshop and some free food, plus a little additional publicity, will help you increase your turnout.

And - another thought - if you are successfully managing this drought-tolerant garden, YOU might just be the expert on xeriscaping! Maybe you could pitch your local newspaper on doing a story about your successes with a very challenging environment, and you could offer up some of the lessons you've learned about working with these plants. To do such a pitch, just find out who writes the gardening or community events articles for the paper, and write them a letter suggesting the story - then follow up a week or so later to see if they received the letter and whether they're interested. Trust me, they *need* news and good ideas for feature stories!

Best of luck...
Janet in Des Moines

RE: How do you attract people to the garden?

I think that not being able to grow any veggies would be a big draw back to getting participation. I'm now in my third community garden ( three different communities) and in each one, veggies have been the main thing people planted.
Getting people to come out and attend an event and getting them involved are two different things.
How many years have you had the garden going? Do people come back year after year? Just wondering how much of a core group you have to draw from?

RE: How do you attract people to the garden?

As far as the water situation, there is an extremely easy way to make rain barrels for collecting rainwater, and then using soaker hoses. I forget where the site is, but it mentions using inexpensive trash barrels with lids, screen wire over the top of the barrel, then replace the lid after cutting a hole in it. This, of course, keeps mosquitoes out. A simple faucet at the bottom, turned toward the side to allow easy access for connecting hoses, etc. Its easy and cheap and would allow in-between waterings. Just an idea.

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