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Re: [cg] Help""" with community gardening

On 07/23/99 01:48:25 you wrote:
>What can someone do to motivate community children or residents to want
>to participate in the community garden.

This was my biggest frustration in non-profit community garden support in Newark, NJ. Often, 
even the block associations who WANTED  a garden would lose interest after a few months. We had 
to limit ourselves on how much time we'd spend trying to motivate people, so as not to misuse 
our limited resources. Rather, we focused on the self-motivated groups to help them fulfill 
their gardening dreams. A few great gardens over many average ones.

It is a good and noble thing to want to motivate people to garden, but near impossible if they 
don't really want it themselves.
Make sure they understand it takes CONSISTANT effort to maintain a garden and get desired 
results. It is a long term commitment; not an afternoon's work.
I sometimes encountered lots of enthusiasm up front, but when the realization set in that a 
garden has daily/weekly demands, people disappeared. 

Then again, sometimes I had to support the one or two persons who were interested, to keep the 
garden looking nice, so that slowly people would come around and want to contribute. It can be 
that some people's interest will only come once they see such a thing as a garden is possible, 
and that the rewards for the work are wonderful. Sometimes momentum take a while with people. As 
long as a few persevere and continue encouragement of those standing by, the garden will likely 

Few people will jump at the offer to get dirty and tired in the heat. Many people will jump at 
the offer to eat a fresh tomato. So, the key is to get people to see the link between the two. 
Some can visualize/rationalize it in their minds. Some have to see the garden happening.

Children's curiosity is often a great way to get them into gardening, and more than once I found 
it's the better way to get adults interested!. Keeping children in it requires some strategy. 
They definitely need to feel valued and that they contribute to a good thing. They need to 
learn, but not too much at once. Don't lose them by trying to get them to work too much or be 
shown too much, especially if they are smaller children.

My main suggestion is don't let YOUR altruism waste your time. If you're with a bunch of 
motivated/sincerely curious people, give it your 110%. If you're not, then find where such 
people are.

Best of luck!

Happy Gardening!

John Edward Verin
Senior Apprentice
Ecosystem Farm
Accokeek, MD

"The system gives you just enough to make you think that you see change;
They'll sing you right to sleep then they'll screw you just the same."
- Ani DiFranco

Food is power... are you in control of yours?

community_garden maillist  -  community_garden@mallorn.com

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