Laying The Groundwork

Red gardening boot digging into the dirt with garden fork

Laying The Groundwork

Connect with Your Community, Identify Stakeholders and Get Organized

Stakeholders are people or organizations that are invested in and necessary to the success of your garden project. Stakeholders in community gardens can be residents, community groups, local businesses, non-profits, and local, state or federal governments. Gardens benefit from partnering with an organization or business from the community that will help to bring long-term sustainability to the initiative—a “community partner.” 

 

Helpful Tip

Creating a planning committee is often the difference between garden projects that grow or wither. Planning committees are tasked with organizing events, identifying new partners, fundraising, and planning for the future, among other things.

 

 

Find Supplies and Fund Your Garden

Resources, and not ideas, are often in short supply when it comes to planning a garden.  Once the project plan is finalized, the planning committee can work to identify funding, material needs, and basic supplies like soil, tools, plants, and signage to begin and maintain your People’s Garden. Search these Funding Resources to find annual or ongoing non-monetary and monetary support that you may apply for.

 

Seek Assistance

Volunteers can bring incredible knowledge and energy to your project. When making the pitch for assistance, it’s important to know what will motivate someone to get involved.  

Many people get involved because they believe in the mission and vision of the People’s Garden Initiative.

 

Here are some other reasons why youth and adults decide to volunteer in a People’s Garden:
  • To make a measurable and tangible impact in their community.

  • To feel good about helping others. 

  • To get outside and put their hands in the soil.

  • To gain leadership skills and development opportunities. 

  • To add meaningful experiences to a resume or college application. 

  • To gain service hours.

  • To create life-long memories and make new friends.

 

Helpful Tip

Invite volunteers to a meeting with the planning committee so they can share their own hopes and ideas for the garden.

 

 

Here are some ways to connect with people who can provide assistance:
  • Contact your local USDA office for more information about volunteering at an existing People’s Garden or to request technical assistance with your garden project. Offices are listed in the phone book under U.S. Government. This information also can be found on the USDA website or use the USDA Service Center Locator to find USDA Service Center and other Agency offiCreating a planning committeeces serving your area.

  • Search the listing of all State and Provincial Master Gardener Programs: Extension and Affiliated Programs to find Master Gardeners that can provide expertise on a range of gardening topics. Nearly all 50 states and the District of Columbia have an Extension Master Gardener program, which offer training through a state land-grant university and its Cooperative Extension Service or through affiliation, and are considered Extension Master Gardener programs.

  • The Corporation for National & Community Service works to build bridges between the federal government and secular- and faith-based nonprofit organizations to better serve Americans in need. The Partnerships for the Common Good guide explains how the 13 Federal Centers for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and the Corporation for National & Community Service can collaborate with you to start a community garden.