How To Start A Community Garden

How To Start A Community Garden

Article by Joe Cline

Starting a community garden is a rewarding project that benefits a lot of lives. Some people have a knack with the green thumb, but scant resources to begin a garden of their own. However, in the tradition of community spirit and some wise planning, you may be the first to launch a community garden center and reap the rewards of freshly grown fruits and vegetables and a sense of accomplishment of a job well done. Someone has to get the ball rolling and it might as well be you. To launch your community garden project, follow these 10 easy steps:

1. Select a community garden site. In this initial phase of community organizing, you will select a growing site that can accommodate a generous portion of land. Before making a final choice, be sure you have had soil samples analyzed to be sure that the soil conditions are compatible for the types of vegetation you wish to plant.

2. Seek Sponsorship. You may wish to explore your financial options by seeking out a sponsor for your community garden. It may be a non-profit organization, philanthropic grant foundation or a religious ministry that will back your project and even acquire or donate the land.

3. Make a list of up-front expenditures. Your working capital must include the necessary elements to get the community garden up and running. Excluding the land costs, you will need fencing, gardening tools, fertilizer, shading canopies, seeds and young plants, trash cans, sheltered storage, locks and gardening accessories to make the cultivation process smooth sailing.

4. Elect a leader. Assemble together all those who have taken an early vested interest in the community garden and elect a designated leader and officers. Someone has to be in charge of the garden recruiting process, how many shares are to be doled out, what the minimum tasks will be to participate in the community garden and if the project will collect any fees. A charter should be drawn up that clearly states the goals and objectives of the new garden, and keeps the officers separated with clearly defined duties.

5. Choose a name. Your community garden will grow in popularity, and in no time at all, will be the talk of the town. Give your community garden a catchy name, preferably one detached from the names of the chief officers.

6. Tenant selection. You must have a written plan of who and how your tenants will be selected. Will they have a fixed term of occupancy and for how long? Will you charge an up-front fee or monthly dues for tenant residency? Will you set forth an advertising budget to grow the garden occupancy? All the variables must be submitted in writing to your tenant list and returned to the community garden supervisor with signatures.

7. Insurance. Your new community garden should be covered with insurance for injuries and vandalism. The larger insurance companies that handle a multitude of scenarios are your best bet for this unique coverage. The insurance company may discuss and suggest to you some valuable security measures to safeguard your garden and protect your investment.

8. Management. Every good garden has sound managerial principals that are submitted in writing and strictly enforced. You will need to establish a chain of command and draft a contract for the garden occupants. This includes deadlines for fees, community garden safety regulations, whether or not you will admit an unaccompanied minor, etc.

9. The application process. To be fair and equitable to all members of society, you will need to draft an application form and make the necessary fees adjustable for senior citizens and any other group you wish to help with garden payments. Have a checklist that defines your membership applicants so that they may communicate effectively their need or financial situation, such as a box for seniors, disabled persons or someone due a discount through a referral.

10. Get to work. Once everything is in place, waste no time in getting your garden going. If the early stages prove too cumbersome for a skeletal crew, you may ask for volunteers from civic and clergy groups to help you set up and get the show on the road.

About the Author

Joe Cline writes articles for Austin Texas real estate. Other articles written by the author related to Austin homes and Round Rock real estate can be found on the net.