Here's the Philadelphia perspective: Philly has close to 1000 community
gardens, varying in size from 200 sq ft to 11 acres. About 95% of them were
generated by the community, most around issues of reclaiming an eyesore
lot; about 25% grow vegetables, especially the larger ones. Most have
between 3 and 10 people directly involved in maintenance, and work on a
very informal basis with no bylaws, no committees, and no permanency. All
are self-governed, but those belonging to the Neighborhood Gardens
Association Land Trust (24) have to sign on to a maintenance by-laws
agreement every third year. A few are operated by Community Development
Corporations or other non-profits.
Startup cost for an "official" garden (started with help from an outside
agency, and including a fence and imported soil or compost) is between $1-2
per square foot. Independent gardens generally cost about $50 and a lot of
sweat equity. The $ is for plants and seeds, and maybe a new shovel.
Major challenges-- Keeping people together as a group, making groups
self-sustaining if they were started by an outside agency, keeping
non-gardening neighbors happy, maintenance. Vandalism, although devastating
when it happens, is not a big issue. In most neighborhoods, improved
property values isn't an issue either. Global challenge--getting the City
to recognise CG as a viable form of development, rather than an" interim
use of the land. " Losing a garden to development tends to rip your guts
out no matter wher you live.
Benefits are the same as everywhere, too numerous to list all of them here.
You seem to have hit the big ones
> -----Original Message-----From: Jim.Call
>[mailto:Jim.Call@dynetics.com] Sent: Monday, April 02, 2001 1:53 PMTo:
>Adam.Honigman@Bowne.comSubject: ConferenceLaura, Sally, and Adam,
Starting Wednesday, I will be attending a conference called "Small
Nonprofit Conference on Leadership and Administrative Issues" in
Shreveport, LA. I have been asked to serve on a "panel of experts" to
discuss issues concerning "community gardening" as they related to
Non-Profit organizations. My presence in this conference relates to the
success we have experienced with the CASA Community Garden here in
>As the Volunteer Garden Director, I know the "ins and outs" of operating
>a garden of this type (all volunteer, harvest given to the elderly). I
>feel that I am an expert in this type of "community" garden format.
The other type of "community garden" as most of you relate to concerns
another format, one which individuals or families "rent" plots. These
typically having planting and maintenance agreements which govern garden
actiivities. Most have a "board" of some type to oversee the operation.
Sometimes, there is a focus on "beautifying" an abandoned lot to enhance
the surrounding area.
>What I am requesting from you is a summarization of the following
>concerning the average community garden operated by a Non-Profit
>organization: -Challenges -Startup -Funding
> -Site Permanency -By-Laws -Vandalism
>-Volunteerism -The Political Arena (Ok Adam, here is your area
>of expertise) -On going maintenance Please feel free to add to
>the above list.
> -Rewards -Beautification -Community Bonding
> -breakdown of various barriers (racial, economic, etc)
> -Harvest to help supplement food needs -Higher Property
>values -Promotes high sense of accomplishment
>Please feel free to add to the above list as well.
>I have "cruised" the net researching these various aspects of community
>gardening, but I wanted to hear from you folks.
>I plan to promote the ACGA organization extensively and will mention your
>names as point of reference to those in attendence. I plan to take the
>last ACGA Community Garden survey with me, along with the the latest
>publication, "Cultivating Community".
>So, please take a few minutes out and give me your thoughts on these
>topics so I can relay them in this conference. Hopefully, we can shake a
>few heads and make a difference in our communities going forward.
>If any of you think this request should be forwarded to another individual
>who you feel would want to add to this, please feel free to forward this
>e-mail to them. The more, the merrier.
>Your contributions to this effort are greatly appreciated.
> Best regards, Jim
community_garden maillist - firstname.lastname@example.org