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Re: Garden layout, rules and democracy questions

  • Subject: Re: [cg] Garden layout, rules and democracy questions
  • From: adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2006 14:40:52 -0400

Here goes for Don and folks generally interested in community gardens? 
Layout: 
 
"First, on community garden layout. Though there are
zillions of variations, I think I've seen 3 styles of
plot layouts, basically - 1. a jumble of differently
sized plots; 2. grouping like-sized beds together (all
the 10x10s (3mx3m) here; all the 20x20s there, etc),
and 3. "nested" plots, where a standard sized square
(I've seen 50x50 (Hilton Head SC) and 25x25, that can
be subdivided - for instance, one 25x25 module can be
4 'small plots' each 10x10 plus path space, the next
one family 'large plot' 25x25, etc). Which approach
does your garden use?"
 
Answer: To paraphrase the late great House of Representatives Speaker Tip O'Neil, " All community garden layout is local - it really depends on the needs of the local community and luck," 
 
 By this I mean, successful community gardens, in my experience, are never planned, "from the top down," but evolve - a prime example being the Clinton Community garden whose founders said, " the community wants a clean safe lawn and garden to be able to quietly enjoy- so it planted really attractive perennials and when it could afford it perennials near the gates, to draw people in, and a glass, dog feces and glass free lawn, sectioned by red brick paths and flower beds for the community of Hell's Kitchen. 
 
Then...when the community, which was more used to 24-7 drug dealing and prostitution and the mad traffic of folks trying to get to Times square, got the idea that "hey, a community garden is a nice thing," then and ONLY THEN, were individual garden plots placed in the rear of our third of an acre space to accommodate 108 gardeners. To get the most, on the least amount of space, these beds were roughly the size of  queen sized mattress. 
 
This kind of hybrid, combination viewing garden, which has mastergardener types maintaining it, and the rear family type plots is wildly successful, having over FIVE THOUSAND KEY HOLDERS.  Here is the link to the garden: http://clintoncommunitygarden.org/
 
There are not many of this kind of hybrid community garden out there, but I think more folks should think of "hedging their bets" in terms of cg programming.  Plot size will be larger in places with more acreage - key to this is making sure that all of that square footage, ( or square foot gardening) is active. 
 
On your governance question, Don, I strongly suggest that the textbook for the ACGA's "Growing Communities from the Ground Up" be used as a way of organizing garden governance - lots of wise community gardeners from all over the US & Canada worked on that one. 
 
Best wishes, 
Adam Honigman
(running off to Saturday "part time job" two) 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
-----Original Message-----
From: dboekelheide@yahoo.com
To: community_garden@mallorn.com
Sent: Sat, 16 Sep 2006 1:46 PM
Subject: [cg] Garden layout, rules and democracy questions


Hi, all,

Congrats, Libby and Philly, on that wonderful garden
story. Likewise, the post from NYC, Adam.

Now, two questions - of course, you all know me, I
have my own strong opinions on the following
questions. But I'm always very interested in what
other folks think, especially based on their
experience, and thought I'd ask the list before I
start writing and drawing. Besides, after that
excellent rat discussion, who knows what you all will
come up with?

First, on community garden layout. Though there are
zillions of variations, I think I've seen 3 styles of
plot layouts, basically - 1. a jumble of differently
sized plots; 2. grouping like-sized beds together (all
the 10x10s (3mx3m) here; all the 20x20s there, etc),
and 3. "nested" plots, where a standard sized square
(I've seen 50x50 (Hilton Head SC) and 25x25, that can
be subdivided - for instance, one 25x25 module can be
4 'small plots' each 10x10 plus path space, the next
one family 'large plot' 25x25, etc). Which approach
does your garden use?

Also, about paths between plots...Is there a 'minimum'
size? 2 ft? 3'? 4'? (or metric equivalent, 60 cm, 1m,
1.2 m)? And how about a 10ft/3m wide access path for
emergency vehicles for the entire garden, I know some
places insist on it (Austin?)? 

The meta-question in all this is, does plot layout
really matter all that much? Paths?

Second, on garden rules. Our Park and Rec Dept has
created a guidebook for community gardens, but it is
very much oriented toward staff not gardeners. I know
Adam has a good example of rules, etc, from Clinton
St, and there are many other good examples - my
question isn't so much about good models as it is
about how to set down the rules:

First, do cg organizations, public or private, tend to
have two guidebooks, one for gardeners, one for garden
managers? 

And what is the best process for coming up with rules
and a guidebook? Especially, how do you get citizen
(and gardener) input into 'garden rule books' that an
agency insists on doing strictly 'in house' (even when
staff know little about community gardens and, in
fact, are pretty lukewarm about having them at all).
Have any communities formed a 'stakeholders group' to
plan for community gardens?

TIA,

Don Boekelheide
Urban Ministry Center
Charlotte, NC


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______________________________________________________
The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org


To post an e-mail to the list:  community_garden@mallorn.com

To subscribe, unsubscribe or change your subscription:  https://secure.mallorn.com/mailman/listinfo/community_garden





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