Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Community Garden Building

Disclaimer: I have decided that Idaho Foodbank Community Gardens sounds too much like the gardens belong to us, which obviously, they don't. To avoid giving people the wrong idea, I'm going to begin referring to it as Community Gardens of Idaho instead. Unfortuantely I'm not going to really be able to change the Facebook groups, but oh well...
Yesterday marked the inception of a new idea for Community Gardens of Idaho, which will hopefully be a huge incentive for families and a huge help for new community gardeners!
Disney is challenging families to do a day of volunteer work in service to their community (they say 8 hours) in exchange for a day pass. There are a variety of activities that families can participate in, and one of them, which has literally fallen into my lap, is to build a community garden. The Foodbank is one of the few organizations in this area that has signed up for this program, and as of yesterday we are in the process of coordinating projects to build community gardens.
My hope is to have Saturdays put aside in the spring for families to get together and build community gardens together, probably the last week in April until early June, if we have that much response. Now my task is to find land, water, and stuff donations and to find volunteers. I feel fairly optimistic about this, but I am also aware that it's going to take a lot of work. But think of the results!! If we can get people together to build even two or three gardens, that means there are two or three more gardens waiting for people to grow them. And, of course, there's the incentive of a Disney pass for families if they participate.
Now I have to figure out what materials I'll need... obviously a rototiller (if not several), compost, lumber for raised beds, stones, etc. I would appreciate any input!! And, of course, if anyone knows of any land and water to donate! I have a list of churches that I plan to contact, and a couple that has already graciously donated their land and water.
I think if properly executed, this event could be a lot of fun. There is so much potential for a fun, great family activity! I hope to include some sort of education with it as well as some fun games for kids. Though really, I know when I was a kid, I was perfectly happy digging around in the dirt. I'm hoping I can really market this as a fun, family event.
I also am peicing together another idea I have been toying with. On top of the (hopefully good) response building new gardens, I want to offer new community gardens a "Garden Starter Kit". I hope to include seeds (Preferably heirloom. What good are seeds if you can't save them to use again?), gloves, tools, informational materials, and whatever else I can think of.
I also received a call from Elaine Walker yesterday. It was one of those moments in life when something very unexpected and awesome happens. She was calling to donate some seeds to the Foodbank garden, which no longer exists. So of course, I mentioned Community Gardens of Idaho and we got on the subject of the Seed Swap. She writes an online, weekly gardening column for the Idaho Statesman, and this time part of it's dedicated to Community Gardens of Idaho. Go ahead and read it here. How exciting!!!
So now, all I need to do is get out of the fog from vacation... easier said than done, I know!

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