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Re: funding questions

  • Subject: Re: [cg] funding questions
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 8 Apr 2002 13:49:56 EDT

Jonathan,

Re: 
I am working as an Americorps VISTA for the
Northwood's NiiJii Enterprise Community. One of my pet
projects is to start a community garden. Being April
allready we need to secure our seed money soon. I have
tried various sources to do this and have had little
success. If anyone out there has any suggestions I
would welcome them with open arms. 

Suggestions:

 It's fair to say that no one now involved in  community gardening is a 
multi-millionaire, unless they hit the Lotto over the weekend and are hiding 
out on us. I don't know if having alot of money will corrupt a community 
gardener, particularly, but I'd like to be the astronaut on that mission ( 
thoughts around tax time :(  ) 

 However, here are a few places that you can look for dough and a strategy or 
two for doing this:

1) Please go the American Community Gardening  Association website: 
 <A HREF="http://www.communitygarden.org/";>American Community Gardening 
Association</A> which has a wealth of information on virturally every topic a 
community gardener might need to get their garden going. Do yourself a favor, 
and spend a couple of hours reading, clicking and printing out the stuff you 
feel might be helpful. The "How to Start a Community Garden Page",   <A 
HREF="http://www.communitygarden.org/pubs/starting.html";>ACGA: Starting a CG
</A>  should give you an idea of the quality of this resource. 
Also, if you scroll down to "Miscellaneous (Funding, Etc. )" on  the "Links 
Page"  <A HREF="http://www.communitygarden.org/links/index.html";>ACGA:Links 
index</A>  you can get a start on some long term fundraising ideas.

2) However, I surmise from your e-mail that you want to  want to get started 
today and,  from your self-identification as a Vista volunteer, I further 
assume  that many of the folks around you that you're working with don't have 
much money. Fundraising is difficult but not impossible: 

a) Discuss the idea of a community garden to the folks around you ( after 
reading the ACGA website, you should be able to talk a good game). Step back 
and listen: see if there is any real interest in there being a community 
garden and if there are folks who will actually work for it to happen and 
then garden in it.  Following this step can either create or save you an 
awful lot of work. 

b) Grassroots fundraising is very much like the the kid's book, "Stone Soup", 
in which a group of soldiers enroute to their homes after a war go to 
townspeople and ask if they have any food to share. The townspeople say , 
"Nada." So, one of the soldiers gets a big pot, fills it with water and 
throws in these stone, proclaiming to the  townspeople that they are making 
"Stone Soup." It ends up being a kind of party, where folks start dancing and 
coming up with a couple of carrots, onions, and finally some chicken for the 
pot - which makes the soup. A community comes together over the making of the 
soup.  It is similar to the old Harlem "Rent Party" where you'd get a 
pianist, some drinks and food and folks would pay at the door to enjoy the 
music.

If you have some folks who want to actually create this garden, get a space - 
a basement someplace, a church or rec center that is willing to give you the 
space. Have everybody make pot luck contributions, get some music and collect 
money at the door. The seed money raised here is a start. Do this as many 
times as you can to keep it fun. You can also think of making t-shirts and 
selling them too at a later date. 

The idea is: If you go to a local business person who serves the area and say 
that you have raised x-dollars for your garden from poor folks, it shows that 
there is popular interest and that there is a shot that if they contribute, 
this might generate business for their enterprise. As always, when 
fundraising in the real world, think, "what is in it for the funder."  

Be sure that you take pictures of your progress, write nice letters on the 
stationery that you've created for the garden on your computer and be sure 
that as soon as you are able, have a bank account, garden officers and 
regular treasurer's reports.  There are lots of people out there taking 
contributions and going south with them.  Be sure that the money goes where 
it is supposed to go. Accountability keeps honest people honest.

Best wishes,
Adam Honigaman 
Volunteer,  <A HREF="http://www.clintoncommunitygarden.org/";>Clinton 
Community Garden</A> 




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