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Re: Starting from Scratch

  • Subject: Re: [cg] Starting from Scratch
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2003 11:43:50 EDT


From your initial message, I'm not sure if you're Jane, Janel, or Katilin, 
but whomever your are, the operative word now is "we".

After about 30 years, on and off, of community gardening (Gawd, I remember 
when the saying, "Never trust anyone over 30," was in common usage and I felt it 
would never apply to me!) you have to realize that while the initial stone's 
toss into the pond may have been yours, the ensuing ripples are the work of 
others. Not to get "Zen" on you, but the garden has to take on a life of its' 
own, the baby has to breathe the doctor has giving it a good slap on the ass. 

The folks who have responded so far have done it, and community gardening 
isn't rocket science, but it is work. My little ripple in the pot has been the 
saying, "Community Gardening is 50% gardening and 100% grassroots political 
action," which means that it ain't enough being green, you have to serve and 
enrich the lives of the folks in your community by becoming as essential to its 
life as other volunteer run services.  Some do this by aiding soup kitchens and 
pantries with produce, serving as neighborhood community centers, or by simply 
providing a well-kept, accessible public garden in an area filled with crime 
and urban decay.  And it means making friends with those people in your 
community who make land use decisions.  It looks like you've done some of that work 

And because you are not just gardening on your own plot, but working with 
others on a group of plots and on the common areas that you share with each other 
and your surrounding community, you'll need the agreement of the folks who 
work with you, the acceptance of your neighbors and the ability to get along 
with both.  

You have to be fair, and you have to have rules and accountability as part of 
your garden's basic DNA.  Buy or download a copy from the Internet of 
Robert's Rules of Order so you can learn how to run a fair public meeting.  Please 
feel free, after you have read through the American Community Gardening 
Association's website and links to ask alot of questions on this listserve.  <A 
HREF="http://www.communitygarden.org/";>American Community Gardening Association</A> .

For an example of Garden Rules, Governance and By-laws, please go to  the  <A 
HREF="http://www.clintoncommunitygarden.org/";>Clinton Community Garden</A>  
website and feel free to use anything you read there that you think your group 
could use. 

While you are at it, and to encourage charitable contributions, you may want 
to consider your garden becoming a 501(c) (3)  charitable corporation under 
the IRS tax code.  If your goals are stated as being educational, providing open 
space to a community as well as providing a food resource for the hungry in 
your community, I don't see why, with the help of a decent pro-bono attorney, 
that you shouldn't be sucessful.

Best wishes,
Adam Honigman
 <A HREF="http://www.clintoncommunitygarden.org/";>Clinton Community Garden</A>

<< Subj:     Re: [cg] Starting from Scratch
 Date:  7/14/03 8:53:32 AM Eastern Daylight Time
 From:  jimcall@mail.casagarden.com (Jim  Call)
 Sender:    community_garden-admin@mallorn.com
 Reply-to:  jimcall@mail.casagarden.com
 To:    community_garden@mallorn.com
 Referring to Jane's request for info in starting a community garden.
 First go to the ACGA website and read the section entitled "Community Garden 
Start up Resources"
 Its address is... http://www.communitygarden.org/links/index.html
 On fencing... If the garden is located in an urban environment (practically 
all fall within this category), I would strongly advise a 6' fence.  Most 
today are chain-linked.  
 On adding amendments...  Once you know the exact location of the garden, 
have a soil test conducted on the site.   It never hurts to add amendments to the 
soil in startup operations.  Because our soil is clayey in composition, we 
are always adding decomposed leaf mulch.
 Garden Paths...   If you have the space available (most do not), I would 
advise making a primary traffic path wide enough for a truck.  This will help 
tremendously when loading and unloading materials in the garden.  If you do not 
have the space, make the center path at least 48" wide to accomodate 2 
individuals walking side-by-side.  As an example, envision a garden layout in a square 
pattern with a cross centered within it.  This should be the primary traffic 
 On opportunity...   Now is the time to do your "homework" on your CG.  Begin 
planning now and continually bouncing your ideas and questions off others who 
have experience or will be participating in this garden. After considering as 
many factors as you can, then make a decision to go forward or not with this 
opportunity.  Its a big decision. 
 I've found that being put in such a position is like moving into a glass 
house, there are many folks who like to throw stones.  Stay focused on your 
committment to make your community a better place.  
 Hope this helps,   Jim >>

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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