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Threatened Gardens, Buffalo, NY

  • Subject: [cg] Threatened Gardens, Buffalo, NY
  • From: "Ashland Community Garden" ACGarden@mind.net
  • Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2005 12:28:15 -0700
  • Thread-index: AcWoBEa8SN/4aJoaQu2X7Q99rhjwQwABmHag

Greetings Kirk,

I am one of the volunteer administrators at the Ashland Community
Garden in Oregon.  Our garden's future has been called into question
this year because the Parks Department has decided to develop a master
plan for the property on which the garden is located.  The final plan
might not include a community garden on our current site.  We are
advocating that the garden should remain.

Even though our garden's fate has not been finalized, we have had
significant success in moving its survival in the right direction. The
elected municipal body has been significantly influence by the
outpouring of public support for our garden. We have been able to
elevate the discussion from that of focusing on one garden site into
the importance of community gardens as an amenity across the entire
park system. As a result, our commissioners have now formed a
subcommittee to develop community garden policy system wide and are
planning new community gardens at other park properties.

One of our most successful tools for our garden's survival has been
civic activism.  City and park commissioners respond to public
opinion; if they do not feel the heat from their constituency, they
are susceptible to the influences of commercial interests.  Many of
them are covert garden enthusiasts so it is a no-brainer to get behind
community gardens.  Check out the Harris Poll for the last 10 years
and see how gardening has been identified as the number one outdoor
leisure activity.

Garden members and friends need to become engaged in the process and
increase community awareness. Here is a list of suggestions to help
spur engagement.

1. Do your homework and share your findings. There are many sources
available on the web for content helpful to your cause.  This bulletin
board is a great place to start, but you need to dig deeper.

2. Set your goals.  Visualize what the end result looks like and work
towards that destination. (Remember, the journey will lead you to
success.) Share that message with others.

3. Adopt an attitude and infect others with it.  This will help your
cause build charisma and speed it down the path.  Keep your attitude
positive and don't demean the opposition.

4. Build communications channels.  Use handbills, email lists, web
pages, potlucks, letters to the editors, local radio talk show, garden
clubs and horticultural societies, etc to spread the word. Be creative
and look for vehicles to communicate your message.

5. Monitor city/civic calendars and identify the important meetings to
attend. If they have public forums, step up to the microphone and
speak.  Encourage others to attend those meetings as well. Butts in
chairs is the key.

6. Familiarize yourself with the civic charters that govern your
area's land use, water conservation, recreation, urban growth
boundaries and so on. Look for items that will support your cause and
build that into your messages.  This type of information is valuable
when going before city councilors or other elected officials that have
dominion over your garden's location.

7. Involve others. Seek out people to help drive or support the
initiative.  Some people are comfortable being in the spot light while
others prefer to remain in the background, but they still want to
help.  Remember to share the light by acknowledging those that do
help.  You will be amazed to find where the support comes from.

--Patrick





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