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Finding money for tools. . .

  • Subject: [cg] Finding money for tools. . .
  • From: "Alliums" garlicgrower@green-logic.com
  • Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2006 18:28:33 -0500
  • Thread-index: AcZOyUPULc3GSn6fS0WAy/ixRQvnWgABgoLg

Hi, Folks!

Ryan wrote:

<<There is very little funding for this garden>>

Heh, heh, heh -- welcome to community gardening, where we all learn to
scrounge for whatever we can! ;-D

<<(just enough to pay the water bill)>>

That's your most important bill -- do look into rainwater collection --
Texas Department of Agriculture has some great rainwater collection plans!

<<and we are in desperate need of new tools and repairs to the fence.>> 

Don't we all!  Here was my plea to Fiskars earlier this year, which
apparently fell on deaf ears:


St. John's United Church of Christ Organic Community Garden and Labyrinth,
including our program of teaching adjudicated youth four times a week in the
spring, summer and fall, is completely volunteer-run - there is no paid
staff or fees for any of our services.  While most of our plants come
through contacts with Seed Savers Exchange, tools are hard to come by - and
teenage boys are very, very hard on tools!  

Most of our adjudicated youth, whether from inner-city Philadelphia via St.
Gabriel's Hall or from surrounding towns via Chester County Juvenile
Probation have never gardened before.  A significant number of these youth
suffer from ADHD or ADD; therefore, they tend to drop or otherwise lose
tools on days their disability is giving them problems.  

While we find it extremely rewarding to teach these youth new skills (and
most of them do enjoy learning how to care for plants), most of them have a
"learn by doing" style which means that they tend to try both the "right"
and "wrong because it either won't work that way or it's going to break the
tool" way to use any particular tool before they truly understand why the
"right" way is "right."  Although once these youth understand why the
"right" way is "right." (their tool use is perfect afterwards), getting the
youth to that point usually means at least one tool gets broken (fiberglass
handle or not!).  

Since we do not have a dedicated funding source for tools, we are forced
into a hodgepodge of borrowed tools, good tools purchased from local stores
and poor tools picked up from yard sales, all of which break as new youth
are added, especially with the Mitchell Program's 4 month cycle.

We would love to be able to teach our youth how to use and care for proper
tools - and have enough left over both to reward our low-income gardeners
who also do not have the funds to buy high-quality tools and to replace the
tools our youth break or lose (totally without meaning to!) as they struggle
to master a completely new and foreign set of skills. 


You can get plants, you can get seeds, you can even find old piles of manure
laying around someone's back 40, but I have to say, after 16 years in this 
"activity" that is it nearly IMPOSSIBLE to get tools -- especially good
tools.  The only way I've EVER been able to get a new tool for my community
garden is when I wrote the grant for the labyrinth and added the costs of as
many tools as I figured I could get away with.  

Of course, now that I've complained and made poor Phillip wonder just where
he went wrong, wandering into an abandoned garden and thinking that fixing
it up would be a socially acceptable enterprise (welcome to the fraternity,
Phillip! :-)), somebody show me that I'm completely wrong and where Phillip
(and I) can completely restock our tool sheds! :-D


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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