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Re: Odds and ends - Yeah, Garden Usage Is Up - Starting an ACGA local

  • Subject: Re: [cg] Odds and ends - Yeah, Garden Usage Is Up - Starting an ACGA local
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2003 18:06:39 EST

Don,

1)  Anybody know more about what Garden Mosaics is and what they are all 
about?

This is from a note I got from Mike Simsik, who is one of the folks who runs 
"Garden Mosaics. This program, which is run out of the Cornell University 
Extension office,  has folks like Anna Wasecha and Lenny Librizzi involved 
with it, so it can't be half bad. In addition, I have a two page flyer onthe 
entire program which, while it can't be attached here on the ACGA listserv, I 
can send to you if you e-mail me at Adam36055@aol.com. 

The short version: 
"Just to give you a little background, (which you might already know from 
having spoken with Anna Wasecha in St. Paul), during the past two years 
CUCE-NYC has pilot tested in eleven cities around the country an informal 
science-education curriculum called "Garden Mosaics" .  Here in the city we 
piloted the program in two community gardens in Harlem and the Bronx.  

Garden Mosaics is a national curriculum promoting science learning, as well 
as inter-generational and multi-cultural understanding, through youth and 
adults conducting action projects in community gardens.  For more information 
about this curriculum and the Garden Mosaics project, please see the attached 
two page flyer.  You could also find more information about Garden Mosaics by 
visiting our project web site: 
http://www.gardenmosaics.cornell.edu/

With funding support from the National Science Foundation, we are currently 
seeking to expand the reach of the program to other community gardens 
throughout the metropolitan area, and are actively recruiting educators 
(especially informal educators affiliated with youth-serving organizations) 
who might be interested in using the curriculum as part of their 
educational programs/curricula." 

2) This spring, I'm getting all kinds of requests for help getting community 
gardening from all kinds of groups - churches, neighborhood improvement 
associations, homeless programs, municipal parks... It seems to me there is 
an upsurge in interest in community gardening this year. Are other places 
experiencing anything similar? 

Don - The ACGA and community gardening programs in cities all over the 
country have been talking up community gardens as the panacea to everything  
wrong with the body politic and societal malaise since the mid seventies ( 
and in the University of Wisconsin, Madison Eagle Heights Community Garden, 
since 1962!)
Here's the Eagle Height's website:  http://www.sit.wisc.edu/~ehgarden/

Now that this society has tried every single mood elevating drug, expensive 
social program, down-sizing, right-sizing, liberalization, tough love, 
crystals, chanting, A-Z ology,  etc....community gardening - the low tech, 
low cost way of building community from the ground up, is beginning to be 
"discovered." 

Kinda makes you feel like a native American looking at some character 
planting a cross on the beach and claiming the joint for the King of Spain, 
don't it?

Now this doesn't have to be a bad thing.  It's just that we have to make more 
places at the table for dinner. 

Now we have to be nice to these folks, be they from the left, right and 
center - community gardening is a big tent, and there's plenty of room for 
all kinds of community gardens.   Because of unemployment, societal unrest 
and quite frankly, alot of folks looking for something new, community 
gardening may become, G-d forbid, "trendy." 

This is not as bad as you may think - but it requires a little sense when it 
happens.Case in point:  Some writer may call homemade macaroni and cheese, 
soup, homemade bread and apple pie, "comfort food" and do some Martha Stewart 
type photos of it, but it's still remains homemade macaroni and cheese, soup, 
etc. at the end of the day.  When the crowd moves on, there are still some 
new folks, at the end of the day,  scarfing down  homemade macaroni and 
cheese.  

Some history:  The ACGA was started, as most of the folks with gray hair on 
this listserve know, in 1978, as a way for the folks who help people create 
community community gardens ( the garden program coordinators, extension 
agents, whoever) to have a chance to meet on a national basis, trade 
strategies and best practices. Then, when the national conventions began, 
rank and filers like me who thought that a convention was a wonderful thing, 
started joining up at pizza and beer rates. Figure it's like an American 
Medical Association or Bar Association where the clients are active members 
too. 
 
This is a great organizing and membership building time for the ACGA - let's 
not blow it by being less than nice to the new folks who have newly awakened 
to the smell of  compost. And we have to tell these newbies that along with 
along with their trowels, seed catalogs, Ben Gay,  Mouseketeer Ears and Magic 
Decoder Ring, they really need to join the ACGA....otherwise, their thumbs 
will turn puce instead of green. ;) 

As you guessed, I have no shame about this....

I've been manning ACGA tables for the last two Saturdays (at the Brooklyn 
Botanic Garden and at Hosto's Community College in the Bronx) explaining the 
benefits of ACGA membership, our annual "Greening Review", "The Community 
Gardener" newsletter, ACGA monographs and curricula, our amazing free ACGA  
website and listserv and community garden organizing to rank and file 
community gardeners. 
Check it out - go to the most popular, non-porno website on the web:  <A 
HREF="http://www.communitygarden.org/";>American Community Gardening 
Association</A> 

We have 1000 community gardens in NYC, and while all the garden coordinators 
belong, the rank and file are blithely unaware of the organization's 
existance.  I think that this is largely due to the struggle we've had to 
survive against a city government that was hitherto more interested in 
bulldozing us to provide low cost real estate to campaign contributors than 
supporting the active civic volunteers who maintain community gardens. Now 
that community gardening is becoming less of an "outlaw" activity here, it's 
time to join the "Grange", i.e., the ACGA. 

( Note: On those dates, I also gave two seminars (one on ACGA materials, 
another on how to do the political work needed to maintain community gardens) 
which are embarassingly long.  They are soporific: If any of you have become 
so vegan that you won't even count sheep  - I'll send you my notes as an 
e-mail attachment. Just e-mail me at Adam36055@aol.com.)

Yeah, of course I  hustled the ACGA's amazing free stuff:   the website and 
listserv, karmic benefits of joining the ACGA, the low price of basic 
membership ( a combo pizza, Chinese food and a few beers, $25) and the fact 
that before I joined, I looked like Sadaam Hussein, but now, though short, 
fat, balding and bearded, I am not a target for our Air Force anymore ;)  

To see the guy who does not look like Sadaam, go to this website.  <A 
HREF="http://www.arkansashunger.org/index.html";>Arkansas Hunger Coalition</A> 
 (Hint: I'm the short guy holding the magnolia).

We already have the national organization - we now need to set up some ACGA 
locals to really get some clout and recognition for our organization. Also, 
with a local, you have a great excuse to have parties with adult beverages 
and all... 

OK - here's the deal: You get yourself 200 ACGA members signed up in your 
area - we'll give you a local.  So far, all the single digit ACGA local 
numbers are up for grabs. Any takers? Anybody want to  to be "ACGA Local 1?" 
. 

Remember, the more members you have in your local, the more your group can 
help to guide the direction that the ACGA takes in this new century. 

Best wishes,
Adam Honigman
Volunteer,  <A HREF="http://www.dahlias.net/";> </A>C<A 
HREF="http://www.clintoncommunitygarden.org/";>linton Community Garden</A> 


  






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