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start-up on military base

I'll be sending you info on starting a community garden shortly, but in the meantime I'm forwarding your note to the community gardening list serve, where a host of experts are waiting to give you experienced advice.
Sally McCabe
ACGA National Office
-----Original Message-----
From: Marty Howell-Myer [mailto:mhowellmyer@worldnet.att.net]
Sent: Tuesday, October 03, 2000 12:52 PM
To: smccabe@pennhort.org

I have just recently moved to a military base on Cape Cod, MA and am interested in starting a community garden here on the base.  I have been doing some research via the internet and have found some very helpful information such as tips from your organization on starting a community garden, but have been unable to find any information about community gardens on military bases.
At this base we are allowed to plant a garden in our own yard, however, many houses, particularly enlisted housing, lack adequate space and/or sunlight to support a garden.  Also, the families here are fairly transient, usually moving on to a new assignment within two to four years.  If we do plant gardens, we are required to submit a request and have it approved; to reseed the plot prior to moving or are charged for sodding the area; and any fence that is placed around the garden to protect it from animals has to be according to the specifications set by the housing office. So... because of all the rules and regulations, many people are discouraged to plant anything more than a couple of tomato plants in pots.
The cost of living here on the Cape is very high. Contrary to popular belief, soldiers do not make a lot of money and there are many families here (and elsewhere in the country) who rely on government subsistence programs to help feed there families. A community garden would enable many families to grow their own food and reduce their food budget.
I was also interested in really involving "the community".  This base is not a closed base, so it may be possible to invite schools, boy/girl scout groups, elderly care programs etc., to maintain plots in the garden.  I would also be interested in growing extra plots so that the food could be donated to area shelters/food pantries.
Because this is a military facility, I am looking at dealing with a lot of beaureacratic red tape/politics and to top things off, beyond flower gardens, I do not have any experience with vegetable gardening.  Where do I start?  I would appreciate any help you could give me.  Thanks!

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