When starting a community garden, it is key to get buy-in. From the very beginning, you are shaping your sustainability plan by ensuring that there is a group of people that are as committed as you are to the garden project. While the Green Thumb Challenge Turn-Key Garden Plan will provide you with steps to build a garden, winning support early on is necessary to build your program. If you are unable to generate that kind of enthusiasm for a new garden, then you will almost certainly run into issues and could be looking into a very short-lived project.
If that is the case, it is best to start with a container garden, and/or implement garden-related activities into your program. That will give your community members time to observe firsthand the positive benefits of gardening with children, and perhaps you will win some support in the process!
Here are some other benefits to think about and share with your community:
• Provide hands-on learning opportunities
• Promote messages of nutrition, health and well-being
• Foster environmental stewardship
• Create sanctuaries for wildlife
• Connect youth with nature
• Support plans for the greening of existing buildings
• Create places of calm and beauty
It is key to be prepared with a plan in hand for your approval meeting. Follow these steps that pave the way to approval for your garden project.
1. If you haven't already, print and complete the GEF Garden Approval Planner, which is designed to help you focus and summarize your objectives. To assist you in the completion of the template, utilize the GEF Budget Calculator and recommendations from Choosing a Location.
2. Set up a meeting with your school adminstrator or youth group supervisor. Bring your completed planner, and a tentative design.
3. Once you have been granted approval, set up a follow-up meeting, inviting other key players - i.e. the head custodian, PTO president, and/or parent liasion.
4. Update your garden design, if desired, and generate excitement by making copies to send home, post on community boards and/or around the building.