re: selling produce
Kansas City Community Gardens has a ten-acre, 108-family parcel with 100
25x40 ft plots and numerous raised beds. The neighborhood sucks more because
of derilict housing stock than the low-income residents living in them.
However, when I approached media for coverage of the Food Circles Networking
Project and the Troost Community Market, a local Saturday volunteer-run
farmers' market in the heart of the city, with the natural tie-in of
community gardeners available to sell as producers to their neighbors (food
and money exchange is positive), well KCCG requested that I not let on to
the entire city, via public television, that fresh, marketable produce was
sitting on the ground, ready to pick.
Citing previous problems with looting youth who jump the fence and pick with
large shopping bags, they believed that the fewer people who knew about the
value of the produce the better. I obliged by asking the camera man from one
tv station to position his lens when shooting and interviewing away from any
recognizable landmarks. We had six community gardeners sell at the Troost
Community Market in 2000, and they all reported positive feedback (and some
otherwise) about the experience, so we considered the efforts of inviting
community gardeners worthwhile from a Market and Outreach perspective. We
also keep in the back of our minds the KCCG concern.
It seems to me that the role of cg's is to allow people to grow what they
can and do with it what they will. The limitations might be set at a garden
meeting (if you hold one), but if a church or non-profit were growing lots
of corn to use as a fund-raiser, who's problem is it? The garden overseers?
I don't think so. Similarly, when food is grown in the city, sold to
residents in the city, isn't that the most agreeable form of food security,
of enterprise, of community spirit? I think so. The Food Circles Networking
Project, Community Food Security Coalition, ACGA, Extension agencies, USDA
all have similar proposals identifying community gardening as integral parts
of a local food system. Market gardening is catching on, and makes great use
of space, if everyone in the cg is agreeable to the methods used by market
Issues of concern:
continued safety of other gardeners - if the crop is recognized as
more valuable than others' simple varieties of herbs & greens, the KC
Community Gardens position makes perfect sense and should be taken into
account. No sense in jeopardizing safety of gardeners if solutions can be
equitable contribution to the garden - if market gardeners are
remiss in their dues, fees, or donations to the garden project, you have
something to complain about.
the rest of the gardeners - be certain any complaints are reasonable
and that all other gardeners' voices are heard. Seek out the opinions of
those who aren't speaking up - most likely they'll have a rational idea
regarding the issues. If everyone has a grievance, and they are substantial
reasons for complaining (the market gardener is using too much water and
hogging the hoses; the mkt gardener is using more chemicals than the cg
by-laws permit; the market gardener is using GMOs and the drift is causing
problems to other varities) than you have a reason for approaching the mkt
above all else - someone in the garden management should be neutral
at all times, if the issue has gotten to the point of name-calling or gossip
beyond the control and good sense of the management maybe an outside
mediator can be brought in from the local housing or community development
agency. American Friends Service Committees or local race-relations orgs
also have good mediation specialists.
Of course, in a best case scenario, you'll find a reason to work with your
gardeners to help them become better market gardeners. 50x50 ft plots sound
like perfect market garden spaces. Sometimes Extension agents can help with
horticulture expertise and the State Dept of Agriculture might have a
marketing specialist who is increasingly working with other local efforts.
The local Market might cut a discount for a stall fee if you have more than
one grower requesting access to a stall at the market. The six growers at
Troost Community Market had small card tables with a dozen pints of peppers
each, they sold out each weekend, and the customers loved knowing that the
produce was grown fifteen blocks away. Of course, no pesticide or herbacides
were used, so they made fans of the organic-minded clientel also.
In short, since not everyone wants to garden, or eat fresh-picked produce,
or make honest money, all the better that groups like community gardens can
assist encouraging these practices and thereby strengthening our
communities. This is theoretical and practical too, as there are numerous
proven examples. Hope your question has been answered by the number of
replies you've received.
Happy holidays, with a foot of snow on the ground, I guess California has
many advantages to Missouri's seasonality.
Food Circles Networking Project - Kansas City
University of Missouri Outreach and Extension
2700 E. 18th Street, Suite 240
Kansas City, MO 64127
tel: (816) 482-5888
fax: (816) 482-5880
From: Bob Petersen [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, December 22, 2000 10:25 PM
Subject: [cg] selling produce
In a community garden situation, if you find one of the gardeners is
only growing one crop in say a 50' x 50' area, and therefore you assume it
is for sale, what do you do?
unclebob's gardens in Irvine,CA.
community_garden maillist - email@example.com