Monday, November 7, 2011

Gauging Community Garden Interest

Friends of Northeast Florida Community Gardens has added a new tool to our website to better enable groups within Northeast Florida to gauge how much interest there is in community gardening within an area.

If you take a look at our map of community gardens in Northeast Florida, you will note that there are areas where there seems to be a heavy concentration of community gardens and other areas where none exist.

You may wish to become involved in an existing community garden which you find in the Directory, by clicking the mail icon beside the Community Garden you wish to contact. 

But what can you do if the garden in your area has a waiting list or there is not one near enough to you to make gardening feasible?

FNFCG fields many requests for information about what might be happening in those areas with too few gardens but to date there has been no single place to gather that interest and get new gardens started. In addition, simply gathering a person's contact information doesn't truly indicate what part of town they are willing to garden within.

FNFCG has created a sign up form which will allow individuals to submit 
  • their contact information
  • their level of interest (Leadership/Organizer, Gardener or Volunteer)
  • up to 4 zip codes that they would like to be involved in community gardens, allowing them to specify their home address zip code and perhaps other zip codes that are in areas which are accessible to them.
  • the ability to sign up for involvement in currently organizing Community Gardens, thereby gaining valuable information and experience regarding the process of starting a community garden in our area.
Why is this helpful to the would-be community gardener?  

Utilizing this tool means we'll never forget about your interest.  By signing up today, you will receive notification when an organizing group for a community garden gets started in an area of your interest even if it is weeks or months from now. You don't need to "know someone" or "be in the right place at the right time" to get into the loop and be invited at all levels of involvement.

Also, you can get involved in other currently organizing Community Gardens and get some experience putting a community garden together.  This will assist your area's organizing group immensely. You might even decide to update your profile to the role of "Leadership/Organizer" once you've helped another garden get started.

Why is this helpful to other groups in the area?  

Without a doubt, our municipalities want information about how much interest exists.  They also want to see thriving community gardens.  Believe it or not our local governments are just as concerned about food security and food access as we gardeners.  By letting our city governments have access to the volume and level of interest (but never your contact information) within an area, we enable them to make good decisions about where their efforts will make the most impact.

Your level of interest enables us to demonstrate the need for using parks and recreation land or tax reverted city properties as community gardens sites.  Let me say that again.  

Your level of interest enables us to demonstrate the need for using parks and recreation land or tax reverted city properties as community gardens sites.

So sign up and pass this along to your friends interested in community gardens. The more information we gather, the more gardens we'll get.