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Re: Question of Usage - Now the Real Work Begins.

  • Subject: Re: [cg] Question of Usage - Now the Real Work Begins.
  • From: adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 21 Jan 2006 12:55:50 -0500

 "The Sunnyvale City Council found wisdom last week as they voted to give our 
fledgling non-profit, Sustainable Community Gardens, the land that we have been 
seeking for nearly two years, right smack in the heart of our civic center, for 
a community garden. We have five years to make it something they won't want to 
take away from us."
 
Beware of what you ask for - sometimes you get it.  Now let me get this right - you're going to be starting a community garden, with no previous experience, in the center of Sunnyvale's Civic Center, with the mayor, city council, city appointed officials, and newspeople walking by, every day, and making it work. It's sort of like having sex in a fishbowl, with people eating popcorn all around, with number signs like Olympic skating to rate you as you go.  In all honesty, I'd rather start a community garden surrounded by indifferent neighborhood types and crystal meth user/dealers that to be surrounded by politicians and city manager types - you really have an amazing pressure from the start to "do it right."
 
I mean, I garden in Manhattan on land worth about 45 million dollars, and it took about 3 years to have a place that you could tour a politician through, to do a horse and pony show. This is the place - http://www.clintoncommunitygarden.org and 28 years later, I'm still rushing out to shovel snow on it's 150' sidewalk frontage, so, God forbid, nobody slips, falls and sues!
 
If I've raised your anxiety level, I've gotten through.  
It's time to get serious, because land use and municipalities are serious things.
 
You asked us how to figure out usage for purposes of Sunnyvale's City Planning office without giving us any more information than your wanting to maybe create 87 plots. 
 
What inquiring minds need to know is: 
 
1) What is the perimeter of your proposed garden space? How many raw square feet?
 
2) After you've surrounded your garden with a cast iron, or hurricaine fence ( hopefully no shorter than 8 feet to keep out teenage male knuckleheads and their friends) whose gate opens inwards, what is your raw square footage?
 
3) After you've planted the entire periphery of the interior of the garden gate with attractive shrubbery and perennials to create a four season show for passersby ( and it is 4 seasons in California) how many usable square footage do you have?
 
4) After you've laid out space for your piped in irrigation system, garden tool shed, public lawn and patio for non gardeners to enjoy your garden as passersby and lunch time visitors ( your politicians) how many square feet are left?
 
5) After you've laid out the remaining space of garden beds ( with at least 25% laid out, per ADA requirements for California as accessible beds for seniors and the physically challenged) how much square footage do you have?
 
6) On the busyest day your garden is ever going to have - with two gardeners working on each plot, with politicians and newspeople, and visitors walking through your garden, with someone cleaning out the shed, working on the compost heap, etc....how many people do you think you can have in your garden without it being dangerous - and people trampling all over each other?
 
Do you get my point friend? You need to get some kind of viable garden design together, and pronto. 
 
As I figure you've done none of the above yet, and have to get a number to city hall, pronto - I'd suggest you go to a nearby park, measure its inner perimeter, and look at the posted occupancy sign attached to the gate.  If there isn't one, you'll have to go to your local parks and recreation dept and find out what the occupancy figure is. 
 
I'd reach out to the closest firehouse in the area of your proposed garden with one of your prettier ladies  asking the question, saying, "We're getting a space to set up a community garden on "X" street, near "X". Some guy in planning needs us to give them some usage and occupancy numbers - guess what, we don't know how to do this, but if you help us, we'll lay out a plot for this house to grow tomatoes, or whatever. Maybe even have a barbecue pit.  What do you think?"
 
Occupancy and usage are a fire department thing. It's so we don't trample each other to death when we occupy a space - firemen know about this becuse they have to pry out the charred bodies.  Offer them tomatoes, or more importantly the opportunity to meet some, they'll comply. 
 
And then get back to the list serv to talk about garden design, and getting the programming of your garden together, and getting lunch time gardeners from the surrounding community ( your political patrons) into the garden. 
 
Oh, and you have to have an obligatory "Row for the Hungry," in the garden, and a way to distribute that produce to a local food pantry/kitchen - it's a very political and good thing to do. 
 
Best wishes, 
 
Adam Honigman
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
-----Original Message-----
From: jsalans@aol.com
To: community_garden@mallorn.com
Sent: Sat, 21 Jan 2006 00:12:41 -0500
Subject: [cg] Question of Usage


Friends,
 
The Sunnyvale City Council found wisdom last week as they voted to give our 
fledgling non-profit, Sustainable Community Gardens, the land that we have been 
seeking for nearly two years, right smack in the heart of our civic center, for 
a community garden. We have five years to make it something they won't want to 
take away from us. 
 
My task and the reason I am writing, is to determine the USAGE patterns of the 
garden without my ever having experienced a community garden. How many people 
attend your gardens at any given time? What is the maximum and what percentage 
of the maximum occupancy of your garden is this number? We are planning 87 
raised garden beds and I need to pro-actively report to the city before getting 
our USE permit, what I think the maximum usage at any given time will be. 
 
Your experienced feedback would be much appreciated.
 
Thank you,
 
Josh Salans
Sunnyvale, CA


______________________________________________________
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how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org


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______________________________________________________
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


To post an e-mail to the list:  community_garden@mallorn.com

To subscribe, unsubscribe or change your subscription:  https://secure.mallorn.com/mailman/listinfo/community_garden





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