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Re: [cancommgardens] getting volunteers involved

  • Subject: [cg] Re: [cancommgardens] getting volunteers involved
  • From: "Rhonda Teitel-Payne" <rhonda@stop103.org>
  • Date: Tue, 2 Apr 2002 12:08:35 -0500

I'm not sure if the issue is people not looking after their own plots very
well or if there are common areas that need to be tended and not enough
people are helping out with that.  I work entirely with volunteers (people
don't have their own plots) so my suggestions are geared in that direction.
I think they apply equally well, though, to building a sense of community
connection and pride that will motivate people with their own plots.
Apologies if anything seems really obvious.

Make your clean up an event, a really social thing.  If you don't have money
for food and drinks (hot drinks at this time of year!) try to get some
donated. Can you get someone knowledgeable about gardens to be on hand to
give tips for the upcoming season?  Make the event as kid-friendly as
possible (assuming your gardeners have kids). Some people respond really
well to competitions.  You could divide your garden into areas or teams and
see who does the best clean up job.  We're experimenting with a
neighbourhood garden contest this year to try and bring gardeners together a
bit more.

Treating volunteers well keeps them happy & coming back.  This is less about
spending money and more about making sure they are enjoying themselves,
feeling a sense of accomplishment from their work and getting some
recognition (even if it is just verbal).  Talking to people individually,
helping them to talk to each other and doing the group
"haven't-we-just-done-something-marvellous" goes a long way.

Longer-term: word of mouth is the best way to get people involved.  If
people are hearing from others that you're doing something wonderful (and
treating your volunteers well), they'll want to get involved too or feel
more enthusiastic about staying involved.  Never miss an opportunity to talk
up your garden project and the people who make it happen, even if it isn't
immediately obvious that there will be any direct benefit.

Good luck!

Rhonda Teitel-Payne
Urban Agriculture Coordinator
The Stop Community Food Centre
Phone: 416-652-7867 Fax: 416-652-2294
P.O. Box 69, Stn. E., Toronto, ON. M6H 4E1

Check-out our web site: http://www.stop103.org
----- Original Message -----
From: "Laura Berman" <laura@foodshare.net>
To: "ACGA listserve" <community_garden@mallorn.com>; "Canadian Community
Gardens" <cancommgardens@yahoogroups.com>
Cc: "donald" <don.norma@shaw.ca>
Sent: Tuesday, April 02, 2002 9:18 AM
Subject: [cancommgardens] getting volunteers involved

> Hi again Everyone,
> Can you please put on your thinking caps and help Don in Lethbridge,
> (northern Canada). Please email him as well as the listserve because he
> hasn't yet joined (but I'm sure he will).
> -------------------
> Laura
> My name is Don McKay and I am the plot register of our community garden
> Lethbridge Alberta. I just became  involved with the executive late last
> fall . All volunteers . The garden society is around ten years old . We
> under the city of Lethbridge  Parks  Department . The City is trying to
> reorganize our plots and have us in one standard location so we can be
> better upkeep. We will have around 140 plots when finished. But the garden
> right now is a real mess with weeds and no real cleanup.
> So I am searching other community gardens for help .    On how to get
> members more involved on clean up.
> So the city is going to help us and give us two years to improve. I'm
> the City but some of the executive is not.
> So there is my problem . Any help you can give me I would appreciate.
> Happy Easter
>  Don Mckay
>  don.norma@shaw.ca
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