It has been a very busy past few days! On Thursday I had a meeting with my colleagues and we discussed what we would like to see with this project in the future. It's very much in its infancy at this point, but eventually we hope to be a resource for people to start community gardens. I have been looking up organizations that donate seeds. There are two specifically that I've come across. The first, Seeds of Change, donates heirloom seeds to many different community gardens and gardening groups throughout the world. I think our group and project would have a good chance of getting at least some sort of seed donation. The second, America the Beautiful, also donates seeds. Their application process seems a bit trickier, but it is still worth a try!
I have also, with some help from co-workers, been researching companies that donate equipment. Fiskars has a project called Project Orange Thumb in which they give grants to community gardens and donate equipment.
Our idea, after coming out of this meeting and discussing these different ideas for funding, was to establish a gardening base at the Foodbank. Our hope is that this base would offer library resources, contacts, seeds, tools, land, etc. and possibly even classes for the self-starters of the community. We would only be involved as far as people would like us to be involved; in other words, we would not demand that people offer part of their produce up for donation. The point of this project is to give people resources to get started and resources to feed themselves, not to have some ulterior motive and corner people. It is also important that each community garden is run by its own community. For any sustainable community project, we can't be the law lurking in the background forcing gardens to be dependent upon us. I think this is a very doable, very exciting prospect!
One thing to keep in mind: the aforementioned organizations are NOT limited to donating supplies to organizations like the Foodbank. They have lists on their websites of little community gardens they have donated supplies and seeds to. There are resources out there for people who want to start Community Gardens!!
On Friday I took a tour of the Treasure Valley, the predominantly agricultural area where I will work. It includes Boise and stretches all the way to Oregon. I think the terrain around here, after the deciduous forests of my homeland, is eerily beautiful. The openness and the big sky seem to offer up endless possibilities. The summer heat is a little more than I am used to...
On Saturday I summoned up all of my courage and went to the Idaho Green Expo in hope of making some contacts. I left my business cards with some organizations (I have business cards!!) and awkwardly explained to them what I am doing. People were so eager about the idea, and they offered me business cards and lots of information. It was wonderful!! I'm sure that will get easier... I've never approached people in that way before.
Those contacts have been stowed away in my Excel spreadsheet. Before too long, I will have to start organizing all of this information... as of now I don't have a filing system but that will come.
The book "Digging Deeper" was referred to me as a great resource to start community gardens. I think I'll ask the Foodbank to order it for our library!
And now, I must conclude, and attempt to sort through the mound of information I have collected. To the books and until next time!!