An important strategy to get and retain gardeners is to have some way
to help the volunteers be/feel responsible for certain parts of the garden.
Otherwise you can have the problem known as "social loafing" where
people work less hard when individual outcomes cannot be determined.
A severe example of this is Russia's collectively owned farms vs people's
personal tiny country plots. The tiny plots significantly out produce the
farms on a per space basis.
It also helps to have a specific quantifiable goal. This could be
in terms of time or quantity--such as 127 pounds of potatoes, or
enough food to feed 75 people for the week of August 1-7.
You may want to divide the garden up into 12 parts and have 12 teams
grow food equal to one month's worth of the food needed.
Another option is to divide the garden up into beds for small teams
and have them compete to see who can grow the most food in
their beds given the same amount of seeds/starts/transplants.
Or you may want to have people/teams each responsible for certain
crops...the potato, pepper, tomato or cabbage teams for instance.
If the area has particular ethnic favorites in terms of food, you could have
groups growing combinations with certain meals in mind such as teams for
4th of July supper
or local and regional specialities.
This sort of personal twist not only makes it more fun but also
helps people focus on what they are accomplishing. It also makes
it easier to talk about which spreads the publicity at a grass roots
level. Depending on what you choose, it also may be good for a number
of local newspaper/TV photo ops. This can also get more people
community_garden maillist - firstname.lastname@example.org