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Protecting urban community gardens from vandalism


Hi,

  I am new to the listserv.  I was recently hired to expand 4-H services in 
Albuquerque by developing after-school and summer youth prevention 
programs.    A major component of our program is to engage youth in 
service-learning activities and in particular to help create and work in a 
community garden.  The sites for garden are all going to be new.  The 
process for getting this program started has been collaborative and has 
involved the resident associations, the city, community centers, and the 
schools.

As I talk to people about the details, one ongoing issue keeps coming up - 
protecting the garden from vandalism.  My past involvement in community 
development teaches me that if the garden is truly a product of the 
community they will take ownership and ensure that the garden is protected 
and I know that that has been successful,at other sites.  However, in spite 
of some quality community organizing and support I do not sense that it is 
currently strong enough to prevent vandalism.  Secondly the sites that have 
been chosen are next to community centers and parks (mostly separate from 
residential areas) in which a lot of people hang out after hours and have a 
history of vandalism and destruction.

So I need help - due to grant issues, the program needs to start this 
summer, so I cannot take time to do more community organizing and 
support.  Does anyone have any advice for ways to protect an urban 
community garden form vandalism and destruction, besides ten feet high 
fence with barbed wire on the top, which really takes away from the urban 
beautification component of the garden?

I appreciate any thoughts and shared experiences.

Jusitn Trager
NMSU Bernalillo County Extension Service
  

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