Throw a Community Garden Work Party
Image by Flickr / transitionus
Get your community garden members together for a garden work party
Community garden work parties can be a great way to whip your garden's common areas into shape while enjoying the company of your fellow gardeners
Inevitably, at certain points during the gardening season there will be chores that need doing to the areas of the community garden that are shared.
Some of these may include:
- Mulching pathways (layering new bark mulch on all the pathways to prevent mud bogs from happening in our ever rainy environment)
- Pruning (trees, hedges and flowers all need a good annual trimming to keep producing strong plants)
- Digging a water line (true story) in order to put in another watering station
- Building structures like seating or plant boxes
- Painting the garden shed, etc.
Ranging from light to heavy these tasks can be accomplished faster when a group of gardeners work together. One tried and true trick to getting people to come out to work parties is by offering a reward in exchange for their sweat labour. Here are a few strategies to help plan your next community garden work party.
How to Put Community Gardeners to Work Together
1. Give the membership date and time options. Set up a calendar (usually from April to September) with set dates in advance. For example, you may set the third week in each month to be dedicated to work parties along with two dates during that week (like a Thursday evening followed by a Saturday morning). This gives people opportunity to plan ahead and decide if they can contribute during a weeknight or a weekend morning.
2. Put aside some garden funds for food. This is especially important for the weekday evenings if you expect people to come directly after daytime working hours to toil in the garden. The community garden I belong to is conveniently located close to a pizza restaurant and we usually order enough takeout for each person to have 2-3 pieces. On weekday mornings one of the members brings a stein full of coffee and hot water for tea, another member brings the tea, and yet another breakfast scones. Caffeine and breakfast treats spur on the garden energy.
3. Set a reminder with a task list. Have someone send out a friendly e-mail reminder the week of the upcoming work party and don't forget to telephone members who don't have e-mail. This note should include a list of work party chores and a plan of action to see them through. That way when the work party starts, time isn't wasted getting organized.
4. Follow up on leftover tasks. At the end of the work party leave a note in the shed (or e-mail the membership) with any leftover tasks. This is especially helpful for members who weren't able to attend the work party but who wish to contribute to the task during their own time.
5. Show your appreciation. Community gardens are built on the sweat equity of their membership — don't forget to thank members for coming out and volunteering their labour. It's the small things that makes a big difference especially when you'll be asking those same members out for another round next month.