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"Make A Difference Day" 500 word description

Hi, Folks!

Here it is -- at 500 words *exactly*!  I had to write it all out, so you
guys get to suffer through what all we did!  Has anyone else participated in
"Make A Difference Day"  I found it quite easy to get the initial $1,000
grant from our local Wal-Mart -- by sending in this description, plus the
form and photos, we're elibible for more grant money for actually HAVING the
event. It seems like an easy thing to do and it's at the right time for
garden clean-up -- if you haven't participated, it seems like a decent way
to get some work done, get some money and get some publicity -- all of which
local community gardens need. . .

I'm still voting Nader no matter what Adam says, though! ;-D

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

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

                                  "Make A Difference Day 2000"
                     at St. John's United Church of Christ Organic Community
                                       Phoenixville, PA

St. John's United Church of Christ Organic Community Garden provides free
garden plots to anyone who agrees to garden organically and make the
Biblical Tithe (10%) of their harvest to someone less fortunate. Therefore,
the garden is the primary source of in-season fresh produce for the
Phoenixville Area Community Services (PACS) food bank.

Unfortunately, our clay soil drains poorly and we were not growing the
harvest we knew our talented gardeners could produce.  The Chester County
Extension Agent suggested we regrade the site by spreading wood chips and
manure over the garden's south side so water could drain more naturally.

"Make a Difference Day," after the fall harvest, was the perfect day to ask
folks to help us help our gardeners so that they can feed the hungry in
Phoenixville during the growing season.

Since not everyone can shovel manure and push a wheelbarrow, we offered
three work stations ranging from great effort (regrading the garden as
mentioned) to medium effort (removing invasive vines from an abandoned
section of the property used for composting) to little effort (weeding our
strawberry bed and orchard) to encourage as many folks to visit the garden
as possible.

To encourage volunteers to talk to each other, regardless of their "work
station," and to add a natural (and necessary, considering the work we were
asking folks to do!) break to the day, we asked local businesses to donate
lunch and other necessities.  Our sponsors included:

Wal-Mart Foundation's "Make A Difference Day" Planning Grant 
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Workshop Grant
M&M Tree Service:  wood chips
Exterior Structures, Unlimited: wheelbarrows and tools
Sear's Hardware, Phoenixville:  tick spray and 55 pairs of gardening gloves
William Woys Weaver:  heirloom grapevines, hops vines and two blue
passionflower plants
TD Alfredo's Pizzeria:  10 large pizzas
Bob's Haven Deli:  10 large pizzas
Domino's Pizza, Phoenixville:  10 large pizzas
Kimberton Whole Foods:  beverages
Entenmann's Outlet, Exton:  baked goods 

63 people, ranging in age from 2 to 71 years old and of all local ethnic
groups, joined our gardeners for the day, including the following organizations:

Kelsch Associates, Inc  (mentally challenged adult work group)
Mitchell (community garden) Program of St. Gabriel's Hall (juvenile hall)
Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity, West Chester University

We accomplished EVERYTHING in just 4 hours -- the garden is regraded, the
beds are weeded and not only were the vines cleared from the compost area,
but the hard-working guys from St. Gabriel's cleared out the brush so we can
actually walk around the entire enclosure!  Next year, we'll be able to
harvest heirloom grapes from this previously abandoned fence line!

Next year, our gardeners won't lose plants to root rot and should easily
double their contributions to the PACS Food Bank.  But more immediately,
these very different groups, from very different walks of life, enjoyed
coming together for a common purpose so much that they DEMANDED to be
invited back, together, for another workday in the Spring.

We're making a difference in Phoenixville - on "Make A Difference Day" and
throughout the year!

community_garden maillist  -  community_garden@mallorn.com

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