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RE: Lost our Garden to Town Politics

  • Subject: RE: [cg] Lost our Garden to Town Politics
  • From: "Honigman, Adam" <Adam.Honigman@Bowne.com>
  • Date: Fri, 4 Jan 2002 11:59:58 -0500

Thank you Jim for attempting to make me mathematically literate, but "Community gardening is 50% gardening and 100% political action". All of Jim Call's suggestions are prime. Let me suggest a few more that may be useful :
1) Nothing works better than handwritten letters to elected officials in shaky senior citizen handwriting, followed up by personal phone calls, even visits to the elected official's offices. If you do a "letter bee" be sure to use different colored cheap stationary and pens to write these letters or the elected officials admins will catch on.  Be sure to have xerox copies of these letters to send to your city, state and federal agencies for the elderly and handicapped as well as the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP) and local newspapers and television stations.
2) Be sure that everyone interested in this issue is a registered voter ( all gardeners have friends & family two) . Letters with photocopies of voter registration cards ( I garden and I vote) usually get attention.
3) Show up at local planning meetings and be sure to sign up to speak during the public comment period of the meeting.
4) Find a local politician and start stuffing envelopes, have your group contribute one day's lunch money a as a campaign contribution to legislators who favor your park garden. Call it "Granny's Garden Lunch Club" or whatever. That 25 - 50 bucks will get attention, especially if it gets in the news.
5) Find a reporter who will take on your quest as a "human interest story"
Yes this is alot of work, but political work usually is. But, if you maintain a sense of humor about this process and don't demonize your opponents, the process can be alot of fun.
Best wishes,
Adam Honigman
-----Original Message-----
From: Jim.Call [mailto:jimcall@casagarden.com]
Sent: Friday, January 04, 2002 11:30 AM
To: Marge Goslee; community_garden@mallorn.com
Subject: RE: [cg] Lost our Garden to Town Politics

Such is politics.  What did Adam H. once state, "running a community garden was 90% politics and 10% gardening".  How true sometimes. 
My advice is to try to work something out with the city planners or political types in acquiring some of the town park for the garden. You may have to give a little and settle for a smaller garden.  You need to get your ducks in a row and have available some documentation detailing the benefits of a "community" garden. 
One thing is for sure, you WILL NOT be able to operate your current garden on a long-term basis without a regular source of water. 
The 1st year I took over our community garden in 1995, we had no water whatsoever.  It did not rain during the month of July with temps running over 90 every day.  I hauled in water in garbage cans, milk jugs and it was a losing battle.  The next year, we acquired a water hookup. 
Here is another idea.  Drive around town in the area you wish to locate your garden and find any churches with unused vacant lots.  Explain to them your problem and they may work out a deal with you and your gardeners. This is not a long term commitment because if the church expands, they will need the vacant lot, but its better than your existing situation.
Only 5% of community gardens in the U.S. have site permanency. 
Hope this helps,   Jim Call,  CASA Community Garden Volunteer Director
-----Original Message-----
From: community_garden-admin@mallorn.com [mailto:community_garden-admin@mallorn.com]On Behalf Of Marge Goslee
Sent: Friday, January 04, 2002 9:25 AM
To: community_garden@mallorn.com
Subject: [cg] Lost our Garden to Town Politics

Our community garden was located in our town park for many years.  3 years ago it was moved to the outskirts of town where there was no water available and we went from 50 gardeners down to 5.  It is a very difficult area to garden and seniors and those with disabilities are unable to access the area.  They are turning our former area into a little league field  (there are already 5 fields in the park.)  Do we have any legal options to reclaim our former space or have the town provide space with water and access to seniors and disabled folks?

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