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The Community Garden Sustainability Playbook in Action

  • Subject: [cg] The Community Garden Sustainability Playbook in Action
  • From: adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2006 09:38:15 -0500


The St. John's United Church of Christ Organic Community Garden and Labyrinth
community garden  in Pennsylvania that has had to fight to keep its land, to
keep developers from building on it.

 Dorene Pasekoff , the garden's coordinator  has been following the community
garden sustainability playbook of creating partnerships with local churches,
schools, businesses and keeps, with a great crew of volunteers, an  attractive
facility going so people who pass by, who have no direct relationship with the
feel good when they see it.

In other words, creating win-win relationships between the garden and its
surrounding community.

Key to the garden's survival is  that the garden is  very nice to visitors.
And they keep a file of letters from visitors, funders to show decision makers
who know that the garden is sited on valuable real estate.

The attached message is local, but the range of activities engaged in, by the
garden gives a good example of what sucessful, sustainable garden has to do to
keep the wolves from the door,

Adam Honigman

-----Original Message-----
From: Alliums <garlicgrower@green-logic.com>
To: 'David Pasekoff' <>
Sent: Sun, 19 Mar 2006 17:34:12 -0500
Subject: Community Garden: Perennial Garden Volunteers Start This Week!

Hi, Folks!

Spring is upon us, so the Perennial Garden Volunteers will meet this Tuesday,
March 21, for weeding and conversation at the community garden from 5:30 pm to
dark, then meet every Tuesday until the end of October to tend the perennials
and do whatever the garden and labyrinth need for optimal growth and beauty.
Do join us whenever your schedule permits!

Plots for the Community Garden are free and welcome to the public on a
first-come, first-served basis on Saturday, April 1 from 9 am to noon.  Stop
by the garden to sign the paperwork and pick your plot on April 1 or call St.
John's United Church of Christ at 610-933-5311 to make other arrangements.  We
have several open plots, so if you know someone who would like some space to
garden, have them come to the garden on April 1.

The Easter Egg Hunt - free to all children 10 years and younger -- will be on
April 15 at 2 pm and our Spring Work Day will be on April 29 from 10 am to 2
pm - details later, but volunteers always welcome!

This week, we welcomed the Phoenixville Area Middle School Philanthropy Club
to the garden on Wednesday.  They are considering funding our new Small Fruits
Area which will augment the Red Raspberry Patch which has grown from the six
plants donated by my mother 9 years ago.  We gave them a full tour of the
labyrinth and garden - several of the students admitted that they have serious
problems with writers block when trying to compose their school papers and are
eager to try the labyrinth to see if walking it before writing a paper helps
"unblock" them.  We hope they find the labyrinth a support as they navigate
their teen years.

St. Gabriel's transplanted the Jauen de Poiters Leek, which we are responsible
for seed to Seed Savers Exchange, so that it can set seed this year in a
protected location.  They also transplanted for seed stock a rare kale (the
name of which I am not even going to try to spell!) from the Russian Seed Bank
that is being trialed in the US.  We found a volunteer celery which had
overwintered on its own (very unusual!), so we transplanted it as seed stock

We celebrated St. Patrick's Day (Irish) by teaching the boys (African-American
and Asian-American) from St. Gabriel's how to plant William Woys Weaver's (PA
Dutchman) heirloom petit pois (French peas)!  We're always multi-ethnic,
multi-cultural and biodiverse at St. John's United Church of Christ Organic
Community Garden! (In Germany and for the PA Dutch, March 17 is St. Gertrude's
Day, the patron saint of gardening, and also the first day to plant peas.)

On Friday, we also hosted the Revs. George and Arlene Jacobs from Youth Peace
in Allentown, a facility similar to St. Gabriel's Hall, where they are
considering having their adjudicated youth build a turf labyrinth like the one
at the community garden both as an outdoor project and as an option for their
youth to walk before counseling sessions or when agitated.  The Jacobs took
many pictures of our labyrinth, walked the structure and enjoyed "talking
shop" with Brother Pete of St. Gabriel's Hall. We will be advising them as
needed on the Youth Peace labyrinth project.

The schedule for the next two weeks is as follows:

Tuesday                      5:30 pm to dark          Perennial Garden
Volunteers (Great Conversation; Necessary, but Low-Impact Weeding!)
Wednesday                  3:30 pm to 5:30 pm    Mitchell Program of St.
Gabriel's Hall
Friday                          3:30 pm to 5:30 pm    Mitchell Program of St.
Gabriel's Hall
Saturday, April 1          9 am to noon             Free Garden Plots - First
Come, First Served!

Stop by as your schedule permits - St. Gabriel's loves an audience and there
is ALWAYS weeding to do!

Dorene Pasekoff, Coordinator
St. John's United Church of Christ Organic Community Garden and Labyrinth

A mission of
St. John's United Church of Christ, 315 Gay Street, Phoenixville, PA  19460

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