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Request for help (help!) on community garden project

  • Subject: [cg] Request for help (help!) on community garden project
  • From: Don Boekelheide dboekelheide@yahoo.com
  • Date: Mon, 9 Jun 2003 11:29:42 -0700 (PDT)

Hi, all,

My second post of the day - again, this is a copy of a
post to the community gardening 101 workshop I'm
taking. I thought I'd call on the collective wisdom of
the list on this one. Here's the deal:

A small city near Charlotte is asking me to design and

organize a community garden (honest! I'm not
kidding!). I have to make 
a presentation on Wednesday, in just 2 days. I'll
describe the garden 
after asking my my three questions:

First, any suggestions for a garden sited in a
farmer's field 2 
kilometers from town, accessable only by car? No, they
won't change the site 
(see below).

Second, are there any graphics tools that translate
drawings readily to 
an online format, so people can see what I'm talking
about online? What do you folks use?

Third, and I know this is a delicate question, but
what in the world 
should I charge them? Alternatively, how does one
determine that? I'm 
delighted to be offered a paid gig doing good work I
love doing, but this is moving 
into uncharted waters for me. My competitors seem to
be big architecture firms, who want to put a tennis
court there surrounded by privet and junipers.

Thanks in advance. 

Here is a brief project description:

The town of C., NC, near Charlotte, has a mayor who is
very pro 
community gardening. The Parks District of the town
purchased a large farm as 
part of open space aquisition. The mayor wants a
community garden on 
the site - NOW. The Parks staff, lead by a very nice
politically 
progressive director, would prefer a site closer in,
but that simply isn't 
possible now. Either way, the town heard about the
other gardens I work with in Charlotte, and 
called me up.

The garden site itself is a blank slate, about 5
hectares 
of barley at the moment, bordering a wooded creek
corridor on one side. 
The area is classic urban/rural fringe, with
development sweeping 
across farmlands. For the present, though, the site is
pretty isolated. 
There are very expensive condos within walking
distance, by a large 
lake. A house sits back in the woods beside the site.
No one knows exactly 
what to do with the house - a 'food coop' has appeared
out of nowhere asking 
to 'use' the building, but it is hard to get a handle
on exactly what 
the coop is - it is very new, and apparently organized
by two well-to-do 
women from an upscale community on the lake.

The Parks Dept. held an 'organizing meeting and design
charette' last 
week, but the only people who showed (on a rainy
night) were the two 
'food coop' folks and myself. But the mayor is
'pushing' the project, 
anyway...And I don't think the meeting was very well
publicized.

Clearly, if this goes forward, it will be a case of
'gardening lead' 
rather than 'organizing lead' strategy. See my other
post.

As for my job, I think they want me to simply 'make it
happen' - design the 
garden, supervise the installation and soil prep, do
the organizing and 
publicity, coordinate the rules - do everything an
advisor needs to do to 
move a garden from hope to sustainable reality, with a
group of people 
from the garden in charge.

So, let me know what you think.

Don Boekelheide
Charlotte NC


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