Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I was feeling slightly overwhelmed yesterday by all the tasks at hand... so, like most people who want to organize their thoughts, I made a list! To further organize my thoughts (and hopefully help with my sanity...) I will put that list up here. Feedback is always welcome, because as I am discovering more and more, I can't do this alone! It's amazing what two people (and of course, more!) can come up with versus one person. There are some people I need to meet with, but in the mean time, my blog will have to listen...
First of all, I am trying to decide how much money in donations I should attempt to get, and what I would realistically need the money for. I have some seeds that were already donated, which is great, but due to the nature of this program I really don't need tons and tons of... stuff. In a perfect world I would get the right amount of stuff and be able to distribute it efficiently and evenly to every garden that needed it, as well as to aspiring gardeners who would need it for their first season. However I am fairly certain that it would not be that simple... there's no way I could ever get enough "stuff" so that everyone could get what they needed. And then what would I do? Pick favorites? I could potentially pick gardens at random to receive "stuff" from us, but I don't really like that idea. I'm still working this out. As for the seeds that I already have, I think I will have them available at the seed swap. For that purpose I think it would be beneficial to get more, because besides seed-swapping I would like gardeners to leave having more than they came with. But again, this could create some problems.
One thing that having "stuff" would be good for is for a prize of some sort. Maybe as an incentive for the seed swap, community garden participants would put tickets in a raffle or something and win a set of tools... though this might be better for a fundraiser, not for the seed swap.
I'm just hashing out ideas at this point. I think it would be good (for publicity and for us!) to have some sort of fundraiser before the season starts, probably in the next few months, sort of like the pumpkin sale for the Abundance Project (an organization that donates extra produce to incoming refugees! a great project. they have a group on facebook or you can read about them here). Unfortunately my plug for that is a little late, as it was a few weeks ago already... but essentially the North End Organic Nursery hosted a pumpkin sale, and either all or most of the proceeds went to the Abundance Project. It would be fun and (hopefully) profitable to do something like that.
Another item on my plate is the formation of a Garden Committee. As I've been saying over and over, these gardens are not FOODBANK gardens, and we can't do this alone. Very soon I need to assemble a group of gardeners and community members who can help us steer this in the right direction. They know, better than anyone else, what their needs are, and it's always better to hear other people's perspectives.
Another item I have decided to agressively pursue, even if it doesn't come to fruition during my term here, are gardening classes that are either discounted or free. This is something I can discuss in more detail with the Garden Committee, I hope, and it's the kind of service the Foodbank can really try and offer. We don't have the capacity to set up gardens or oversee them, but we could do something like offer classes. That would be a real incentive for people to come to us.
In other news, I met with a volunteer yesterday who's willing to improve upon the maps I've started! His cartography experience far outweighs mine (he does it for a job) and as a past geography major, I am particularly excited about this project. It would be a fantastic resource to point volunteers in the right direction without much staff time.
My head is swimming with ideas, and I'm trying to figure out what can feasibly be done in the time I have. It would be very easy to come up with too many ideas and not accomplish anything, and that's something I want to avoid at all costs... which is why I'm trying to focus on the above (which still might be too much).


  1. I can definitely relate to what you're saying. I'm a VISTA who is also working as a Community Garden Coordinator in Winnemucca, Nevada. The problem of having too many ideas and not accomplishing enough of them is exactly what I am currently struggling with. I think that being aware of it is the first step towards not letting it happen. I keep making my to-do list longer and longer and have been letting myself get overwhelmed by it. I just wanted you to know that you're not alone in your struggle. Good Luck!

  2. Thanks a lot, I really appreciate that!! That's so cool that you're a Community Garden Coordinator, too. I'd think that we would face some of the same challenges, mainly the water issue...