Manpower

Gardens are a team effort!

Start a committee.  When you get started with a new garden one of the first tasks is to start a garden committee of at least 10 individuals. You should also identify 2 garden leaders for heading your meetings and tasks. You will want to seek out committee members with a wide range of talents: farmers, gardeners, bookkeepers, marketers, fundraisers, and even some people who are just simply ready to get their hands dirty.  

You will also need volunteers. How many? Deciding how many volunteers you’ll need depends on the size of the garden and how much time each gardener wants to volunteer. Are you requiring garden plot growers to donate a certain amount of time as part of their contract?  The growers may constitute a large percentage of your volunteers, but remember that extra volunteers can come in handy for one-time jobs, such as soil preparation and planting in the spring and harvesting in the fall.

How to find volunteers?  Post flyers near the garden; ask a local media to run an announcement; and send brochures or e-mails to local clubs. Try tapping into existing organizations to find help:

  • Churches: Many churches have volunteer groups that want to help in their neighborhood. Check with your local churches for opportunities, and consider building long term relationships with them for a reliable source of volunteers.  
  • High Schools: Most high schools have either community service groups or Eco Action groups that can be recruited for workdays.
  • Businesses: Larger businesses and box stores are often willing to have a volunteer day or to pull together a group of volunteers for a project.
  • Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts: Troops or individual scouts may be looking for community service projects.

Motivate your volunteers. Keep interest high by making every day in the garden a party: even inexpensive snacks will do.  Celebrate spring planting or the first harvest and invite the neighborhood.  Regular weekly communication, such as e-mailed gardening tips and tasks, are also good motivators.


References

House Logic - Start a Community Garden
Community Garden Network of Sonoma County