People are the foundation of any community garden effort and they are the place to start your organizing.
It’s best to keep an open mind and let the people who become invested in the project take an active role in shaping it. From the beginning, establish a welcoming environment. Everyone who expresses support for the project will have a way to contribute—not just the gardeners.
Since the people within a short walk from the garden will have the most investment in its maintenance, start by reaching out to them. As you continue with outreach, keep a consolidated list of people who may want to be directly involved using a Sign Up Sheet, and a list of those in support of the garden Community Letter of Support. You may want to set up a garden email account, phone number, and PO Box and appoint one person as the primary point of contact for newcomers and inquiries.
Ways to Spread the Word
- Flyers – Use colorful paper and descriptive pictures. Local print shops might donate services. Put them up around the garden location: mailboxes, community centers, message boards, churches.
- Media – Is there a neighborhood newsletter? Write an article with contact info.
- Events – Fun events with music and food are an excellent way to attract interest and support. Make sure everyone attending signs your Community Letter of Support and Sign Up Sheet (NOTE: these are documents that need to be linked and I’m not sure how to do that?).
- Canvassing – People are more likely to get involved if they are asked face-to-face by someone they know. So, getting to know your neighbors is the first step!
- Youth – Make specific efforts to reach out to youth. Be patient and encouraging.