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Membership in Community Gardens " Some Suggestions"

  • Subject: [cg] Membership in Community Gardens " Some Suggestions"
  • From: "Maureen O'Boyle" moboyle1@nyc.rr.com
  • Date: Tue, 25 Oct 2005 14:24:12 -0500

The 64th Street Community Garden in Sunset Park Brooklyn approached most
of the NFP's in the community and invited them in to garden.   They were
offered either a flower bed in the front of the garden, a veggie bed in the
rear of the garden and garden tasks to perform when they were on site.    We
now have 2 groups from Life Spire, 8 groups from AHRC, 1 group from UCP and a
local school PS 314 and 2 day care centers.   We have about 15 groups in
all.  They visit weekly, have their own keys, help with watering and general
maintance and they use their money to purchase flowers and plants.    The use
the garden to hold meeting, parties, benefits and BBQ's.    Their involvement
has made a tremendous difference to the look and feel of the garden.

Other suggestions, /things we have done:
1. Attend your community board meeting and hand out flyers inviting new
members to come in for a tour.
2.  Reach out to the community affairs office at your local
hospitals.   We now have a diabetic support group that meets in the garden,
grows vegetables and next season will learn new grilling techniques for low
salt diets.
3.  Tap into a local AmeriCorps group.   They need to perform service and
have their own network of groups who might be interested in gardening.
4.   Most of our libraries teach a gardening course which involves reading
gardening books.    Our library loves to visit the garden and read.
5.   "Reach out and Read" and "Literacy Inc" are also members of our garden.
We have a large hexagon bench donated by a local coffee shop where the kids
meet to read.   This is their space.
6.  We also have a relationship with the Red Hook Criminal Justice Center,
Brooklyn Supreme Court and Civil Court.
7.  We have a relationship with the local senior center.  Years of gardening
expertise comes from this group.

All of these groups are keyholders, and use the garden weekly.   Hope some
of these suggestions will help.    Our garden is blossoming with so many new
members.   We have handicapped gardeners who arrive each week by bus.   Some
of these groups had been paying to use green space else where.    We offered
them free use of the garden.   We have never charged any fee's for anything.
We have been blessed with friends who donate private funds and some
corporate grants.  The local hospital pays for our insurance and a local
teen group pays for the porto san each season.   This year they paid $575.00
for a handicap model, which was great for all our guests and members.
We maintain a relationship with our NFP groups over the winter.   Members
attend special events at their sites and they attend ours.    This is our
third year for hosting a holiday party at a local shelter.    We have also
been a work site for the Summer Youth Employment Program of NYC for the past
three years.   This season we employed handicapped teens who did a great job
every day.  We also wrap gifts as a garden group at Barnes and Nobles during
the holiday season.   We hand out brochures and for Fathers Day we made almost
$300 in tips which paid for the installation of a fire safe BBQ Zone in the
garden.    These off season events help to keep the members in touch
with each other and they tell me they really like the off season projects.
We also participate and or plan community events like cleanups etc.   This
year we built children's gardens with raised beds at two community day care
centers.    These events draw out the spouses and family members to help.
We also hosted a large fund raiser for Brooklyn Narcotics Anonymous,
complete with our first block party.   These groups now plan to meet in the
garden next season.    Our goal is to have the garden open every day during
the 2006 season.   I could go on and on, I'm very proud of the work we do
both inside and outside of the garden gates in the Sunset Park section of
Brooklyn. NY.

                          Regards, Maureen


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