Adam... Old time saying:" One mother may ably raise 10
children, but 10 children can't take care of one mother easily." Adulthood
is hard to deal with, but it's best to learn the job before you lose your
Those who care about the garden
better step up to the plate to "learn" how to operate it. There is no doubt
in my mind, there are many tasks that this "devoted" gardener takes on that
others are totally unaware of.
When it comes down to doing it,
will they take it on. You have to realize that this individual who has
been in this position for such a long time has done it out of his love for
gardening and helping others. He has been dedicated to managing the
garden. When others realize the time and efforts that he takes to
manage the garden, they would probably be appalled.
Also, just because his position
is fully defined, who is going to take on the tasks.
I would.... Sit
down with this gentleman and ask him about his total involvement in this
effort. Create a document that defines all this involvement such as pest
control activities, irrigation, financial, resource, and any other
problems that arise during the course of a growing season. What about his
Find out how many hours
are involved in each task.
Finally, when all his
involvement has been defined, who is going to take them on?
Defining it is the easy part. When it gets down to it, someone is
going to have to devote their time to do the tasks that this gentleman once
did for others. It will take dedication.
I know all this gentleman
because in many ways, I am him.
Jim Call, CASA Community Garden
Old time saying:" One mother may ably
raise 10 children, but 10 children can't take care of one mother easily."
Most of our community gardens are set up by one or more charismatic,
hardworking people who get folks involved, and do more of the work of running
a community garden than they should. And because human nature is what it
is, the gardeners are more than happy to let that charismatic, hardworking
person/people carry them while they "just garden."
It is very easy to
take the work of others for granted, especially when it's presented in a
gracious, selfless way.
Sometimes, "mother" is sweet, othertimes
she/he is authoritarian and doesn't want to let go because "it just won't run
The "mother" at the Clinton Community Garden was a remarkable
lady named Mallory Abrahmsen who had the good sense to set up, with the help
of Green Thumb and the Trust for Public Land, the CCG steering committee. Part
of this was necessary because we incorporated as a 501(c)(3) corporation and
had to set up a board of directors, and a gardener board was best. Also,
Mallory was a theater artist, and realized that collaborative leadership and
work was necessary to keep the "show playing." So although the steering
committee was pretty strongly dominated by Mallory during the early years (she
was most times right, a maddening thing to deal with if you have an ego) , the
steering committee was a democracy - so when Mallory got cancer, the business
of running the garden day to day and the ownership of decision making, for
right or wrong, belonged to the garden's duly elected steering committee.
All of the Clinton Community Garden's bylaws, rules and governance is
on our website and have been used in part or whole by other community garden
groups (with and without acknowledgement <lol>) for over 20 years.
Please feel free to share it with your burnt out guy and tell him to copy
whatever he wants. Clinton Community Garden
The plan: He tells the other gardeners that there is a big deal
mandatory meeting that all gardeners must attend. If he can, he should get you
or someone else to moderate the meeting, because he's going to be laying some
heavy stuff on alot of gardeners who have been taking his work for granted for
1) He's been doing this for over 20 years, and he's tired.
2) He wants to transition to an elected steering committee so the
gardeners pick up the work and do it faithfully so he can "let it go."
3) Stating concerns that he has with the garden, namely that it could
disappear if they steering committee is not vigilant.
4) That he will
serve on the steering committee, but cannot do the bull work anymore - if they
want a garden, they will have to learn to pick up the slack and keep it going
- the word is sustainability.
5) Get reasonable commitments.
Show them a governing structure ( you can pass out the CCG's structure, or a
version of it that you think will fly.)
6) If the gardeners don't want
to do the work of maintaining their own garden, they have not gotten the
"community " part of community gardening, and need to accept a paradigm change
- i.e., being ready for self govenrment - or look at the very real possibility
that their garden may, alas, fall into serious decline or disappear if
they don't get on the stick and start running their own garden.
time saying:" One mother may ably raise 10 children, but 10 children can't
take care of one mother easily." Adulthood is hard to deal with, but
it's best to learn the job before you lose your mother.
Clinton Community Garden
Subj: [cg] garden management sustainability Lynn Gregor
9/24/04 9:54:33 AM Eastern Daylight Time
from the Internet
I would love to get some
feedback on a dilemma on which I am currently trying to advise the Garden
Leader at one of our larger garden sites:
The volunteer Garden Leader
puts in many, many hours of time to manage this garden that has 95 plots and
over 100 participants. The Leader has done this for quite a while
(over 20 years?? - maybe a bit less). The plot fees were recently
raised to $20 per plot and that was difficult to do because they did not
want to make the cost prohibitive. The money goes to regular
maintenance and event costs. The Leader has a team of people who helps
them and gardeners need to do 10 - 20 hours of community time each
year. However, the Leader is getting burnt out and there isn't exactly
people knocking on the doors to become leader.
with the Leader the possibility of paying someone to do some of the duties
(as another garden in Cleveland does). Does anyone have any
suggestions on setting up a more sustainable structure for the management of
this garden? Incidentally, the garden is under pressure from the
surrounding neighborhood that has gone through somewhat of a gentrification
and is one of the most desirable neighborhoods. Therefore the Leader
expressed some fear that if they stepped down there would be condominiums
being built on the garden site in a few years.
Thank you in advance
for your time and any ideas shared.
Ohio State University Extension,