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re: community gardens and waiting lists

  • Subject: [cg] re: community gardens and waiting lists
  • From: "susan hauck" <haucks@about.com>
  • Date: Wed, 6 Jun 2001 22:57:57 -0700

Hi Jon,

We are a relatively new garden, started summer of 1999, and we 
require new members to participate in a "work day" (more like a 
morning).  We are located in a working class neighborhood in 
Philadelphia, and in 1999 and 2000 had a "long" waiting list.  When 
we started, we had a dozen raised plots, and about 20 people on the 
waiting list.  We now have 21 plots, but only 12 people on the 
waiting list.  That still sounds like a good number, but because we 
have stuck with the work day requirement, we have 2 beds that are now 
communal beds (a pumpkin and a watermelon patch).  I'm sure if we had 
dropped the work day requirement, they would have been spoken for.  
I'm of mixed mind.  I think the more people the merrier, and would 
like to have as much community involvement as possible.  On the other 
hand, I think it serves a purpose in weeding out (excuse the pun) 
people who don't have a commitment to the garden -or the 
neighborhood.  

Our "work days" are loosely defined.  admittedly, sometimes it is in 
the garden itself.  But for the last two years we have gotten new 
members because they have helped us mulch and weed all the tree pits 
on the neighborhood commercial strip (which is in a sad state).  We 
are lucky in a couple of respects.  We had a huge amount of support 
 from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society in getting started.  I 
think that seeing the transformation of a trashed, abandoned lot into 
a garden really energized people, thus the long waiting list at 
first.   We also have a sympathetic, and widely recognized way to 
communicate with the neighborhood, a monthly neighborhood newspaper, 
which we depend on to let folks know about what is happening at the 
garden.   We make a point of announcing any work days - as well as 
general garden news- in the paper.  We also call and/or email 
everyone on the waiting list whenever we have a work day scheduled. 

We have a web site (not updated since April, unfortunately!) at 
http://members.tripod.com/brewery_garden/.  You can get some more 
info there.

To answer your last question, we are planning on sticking with our 
modest requirement of participation in a communal effort, despite 
recognizing can be a barrier to some folks.  So I guess that is a 
recommendation!

Hope this is of some help.  I'm interested in seeing some of the 
other replies to the list!

-sue
the brewery garden 


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