Sunday, February 12, 2012

Follow the Links to a Community Gardening How-to and advice on working with groups

Hello everyone!

I hope you are all well and happy.

Time has flown by even more than usual. I recently figured out that the fatigue I was having was due to a tooth problem. It's nicely under control, and antibiotics sure have their place in life! I feel awake for the first time in maybe six weeks.

I'm all enthusiastic right now about a new resource on community gardening, and I came upon it by a circuitous route!

Garden City Harvest*, out of Missoula Montana sent me an e-mail mentioning that its local historic theatre, The Wilma, would be holding a screening of a new documentary titled Cafeteria Man, made by Recipe for Change Films. (yes, I'm on a lot of mailing lists!)

Cafeteria Man is about "the aspiration of social activists and citizens coming together ... overhauling a dysfunctional nutritional system. ... Leading the charge to replace pre-plated, processed foods with locally-grown, freshly-prepared meals is Tony Geraci, food-service director for the city’s public schools. A charismatic chef from New Orleans, Geraci describes himself as a “little bit lunch lady, a lot P.T. Barnum.”

One may only watch a clip, but this looks like a really interesting documentary and I hope this Baltimore Maryland project is a huge success. [Remember the Jamie Oliver in America shows that were on last year? ]

From Cafeteria Man, I looked up "Baltimore community gardens", and found my way to the Grow It Eat It page of the University of Maryland.\

Grow It Eat It is the Maryland Food Gardening Network

and there on the left menu bar is the Community Gardening Toolkit - a pop-up pdf of a succinct 24 page guide to setting up community gardens - and a publication of the University of Missouri!

There are other such guides. One need only look at the Community Gardens London website to have some examples and even a short, printable 2-pager -

But the Community Gardening Toolkit is the newest such that I've found, so today I'm excited about it. There are some great little cartoons, which always cheer me up and help me understand things. It's clearly written, with good advice. And it has a very nice section that lists Five Core Beliefs of Working Groups ... sensible ideas that apply to all sorts of groups, take the pressure off start-up people for having to get everything 'right' all at once, and remind us to look to others for help.

Core Belief #1: "There are many ways to start and manage a community garden" [or any other project!]

Core Belief #2: "In order for a garden to be sustainable as a true community resource, it must grow from local conditions and reflect the strengths, needs and desires of the local communty."

Core Belief #3: "Diverse participation and leadership, at all phases of garden operation, enrich and strengthen a community garden."

Core Belief #4: "Each Community member has something to contribute."

Core Belief #5: "Gardens are communities in themselves, as well as part of a larger community."

I hope you find an idea in these few links, and any others you might happen upon.

Happy Googling and Firefoxing!

Best regards, as always!

Why's Woman

*Garden City Harvest - the people who wrote the terrific book -

my July 10/11 post -

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