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Tips: Supporting a Community Garden

There are numerous ways to support a community garden, even if you don't have a green thumb!

TRADITIONAL SERVICE

Adopt a plot and volunteer your time:

  • Each community garden has unique by-laws and requirements. However, most provide a plot of land and some training in exchange for a time commitment and a small fee. Find the garden near you and get involved. For first time gardeners, a wealth of information is available online.

Donate harvested food to local food banks:

  • Many community gardens provide fresh fruits and vegetables to local food banks and churches. Find a local food bank and enlist others in planting a row for the hungry.

WORKING WITH KIDS

Work with skilled leaders to assist at children's or classroom gardens:

  • The effects of community gardening are particularly pronounced among low-income children with limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Volunteer at an organization or a school garden that specifically targets youth. Once screened, volunteers help in the garden, offer nutrition courses, provide administrative support and more. To connect with the right group, call your local high school or search for community groups like Seattle-base Cultivating Youth.

Organize public education programs at your community garden:

  • Partnerships between local schools and community gardens are blossoming around the country. If you already work at a community garden, consider inviting local students in or running a free workshop over the summer for low-income youth. There are resources and manuals available to help design a curriculum.

KEEP THE GARDEN GOING

Create a monthly newsletter for the local community garden:

  • Sharing successes and identifying best practices will help foster the sense of community at your garden and keep people involved. There are many tactics, both high and low tech, for sharing information. Consider starting a community notebook at your school garden or creating an e-newsletter outlining opportunities for service and issues for advocacy.

Help with grant writing or fundraising on behalf of the garden:

  • Fundraising can pay garden rents, buy new tools, support service projects and keep the garden growing. Online resources can help you navigate the world of private foundations, individual contributors, and old fashioned bake sales.

START A COMMUNITY GARDEN

For a step-by-step guide to getting started, visit the American Community Garden Association or the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

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