Resources for Starting a Community Garden
The American Community Garden Association provides extensive information on starting a community garden including the formation of a planning committee, choosing a site, preparing and developing the site, organizing the garden, insurance, setting up a new gardening organization, and managing the community garden, dealing with people problems, etc.
There are many excellent sources on the web to help with the organizational details of beginning a community garden, some of which are listed below. The American Community Garden Association is an invaluable resource and membership in the organization offers many resources for networking, education and support.
The source of funding will be an important factor in determining the steps needed to organize and establish a community garden. Government agencies, churches, schools, neighborhood associations, assisted living and retirement complexes are just some of the possible sources of funding. Among friends and neighbors, funding may not be an issue at all. Each garden will have a different dynamic.
Another important factor in determining how to organize a community garden is how the food produced will ultimately be distributed. Private plots for family use, volunteer gardeners for food pantries and homeless shelters, church gardens for the needy, neighborhood plots for low-income housing developments—each will need specific rules and procedures to reach those goals. Location will determine if and how security issues will be addressed.
Enthusiasm and cooperation are top priorities if the garden is to succeed. It’s wise to have a small committee and a coordinator that will communicate and get feedback from the membership or plot owners and act as the “manager” should any disputes arise. In addition to a coordinator, it’s a plus if there’s a member of the group who will take responsibility as a “volunteer’ go-to guy when logistical problems arise, such as minor repairs, water leaks, vandalism, etc.
Legal responsibilities and liability will also depend on the funding source, location and stated purpose of the garden. All parties should be given a contract or waiver to sign that clarifies emergency and/or legal procedures.
Below are great resources that will help you ask the right questions and plan in the most effective and enjoyable way. All of these organizational matters, when presented clearly at the outset and understood and agreed upon by all involved, should alleviate most problems and allow everyone to simply enjoy gardening!
RESOURCES FOR STARTING A COMMUNITY GARDEN
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