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Re: CG Signs: The ACGA Growing Community Curriculum

  • Subject: Re: [cg] CG Signs: The ACGA Growing Community Curriculum
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 11 Apr 2003 10:47:42 EDT

Dear Sean,

Get some of the folks who are going to be gardening with you and go through 
the process of creating a sign. Start off with a name, the fact that it has 
to be waterproof and be able to last until the next season.  It doesn't have 
to be pretty, but it should be the community's.  It's the spirit behind the 
sign and the community that you help build that will be key to your garden's 

I've discovered that community gardens have more of a chance at 
survivabililty if gardeners are incorporated into the process at the 
inception.  Many of us, throughout the country have shaken our heads at 
community gardens that have been started by a few well intentioned 
individuals and have died after the initial impulse, or because  the folks 
who started it moved on.  

The sainted Liz Christy, who founded NYC Green Guerillas and is one of the 
remarkable women who  propelled the NYC community garden movement in the 
early '70s (hint: there's a master's thesis there for somebody) believed that 
you work like hell to help community gardeners in the beginning, but that the 
momentum and energy to keep the garden going has to come from within the 
gardeners themselves. It's best to nuture this culture of self-reliance from 
the beginning.  Gather your gardeners together and go on from there, even if 
there's no garden yet.

I know that you've gone the website of the American Community Gardening 
Association and read everything (or should have). There's 25 years of the 
collected experience of community gardeners from all over the US and Canada - 
pick and choose what you believe will work for you - reinventing the wheel is 
unnecessary.   <A HREF="http://www.communitygarden.org/";>American Community 
Gardening Association</A> This link <A 
HREF="http://www.communitygarden.org/pubs/starting.html";>ACGA: Starting a CG
</A> , is essential reading.

Also if your sponsoring organization wants your garden to be a success, I 
strongly recomment that they purchase a copy of a book that grew out of the 
ACGA's "From the Root's Up" program.  
 "Growing Communities Curriculum: Community Building and Organizational 
Development through Community Gardening" By Jeamette Abi-Mader, Kendall 
Dunnigan and Kristen Markley - Ed. by Jeannette Abi-Nader & David Buckley.

I am sorry to say that I only became aware of the "Growing Communities 
Curriculum" when I manned the ACGA tables last month at Brooklyn Botanic 
Garden and Greenthumb gardener's conferences last month.  It's quality and 
sound advice knocked my socks off - it's probably the best community 
organizing book I've seen anywhere - and the lessons included within are 


Engage and empower those affected by the garden at every stage of planning, 
building and managing the garden project.

Build on community strengths and assets.

Embrace and value human differences and diversity. Promote equity.

Foster relationships among families, neighbors, and members of the larger 

Honor ecological systems and biodiversity.

Foster environmental, community, and personal health and transformation.

Promote active citizenship and political empowerment.

Promote continuous community and personal learning by sharing experience and 

Integrate community gardens with other community development strategies.

Design for long-term success and the broadest possible impact."

You can try to do this on your own, and many of us have, but this book will 
help you spend more time on "doing it" instead of "reinventing the wheel."

Best wishes,
Adam Honigman
 <A HREF="http://www.dahlias.net/";> </A>C<A 
HREF="http://www.clintoncommunitygarden.org/";>linton Community Garden</A> 
<< Subj:     [cg] CG Signs
 Date:  4/11/03 9:56:38 AM Eastern Daylight Time
 From:  scg@ceimaine.org (Sean C. Gambrel)
 Sender:    community_garden-admin@mallorn.com
 To:    community_garden@mallorn.com (Community Garden List)
 Hi again everyone.
 First off, thanks to everyone for help with the rainwater collector issue.
 It now turns out that the City is gonig to give us a "Water Buffalo" for the
 summer, which is a rather unsightly large military-type trailer-tank, and
 beautifully painted camouflage.  But I'm really not complaining at all, just
 being a little cynical - it will be a fine source of water for us!!  So,
 perhaps the rainwater colelctor is still on the radar, but just for year 2
 of the garden (I have enough to worry about already!).
 So, my next question is - does anyone have a picture of their garden sign
 handy that they could mail to me?  I've collected a couple off the internet,
 but am hoping to get a little wider array for more inspiration.
 Thanks again for your help!
 Sean Gambrel
 AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer
 Coastal Enterprises, Inc.
 P.O. Box 268
 Wiscasset, ME  04578
 (207) 882-7552 ext. 185
 CEI's mission is to help people and communities,
 especially those with low incomes, reach an adequate
 and equitable standard of living, working and learning,
 in harmony with the natural environment >>

The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org

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