COMMUNITY GARDEN - University Of Illinois Extension

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COMMUNITYGARDENTABLE OF CONTENTSWhat is a community garden?.3Benefits of a community garden.3Challenges of community gardens.4Types of community gardens.4Local community gardens.5Role of community organizers.6Planning the garden.7Choosing and evaluating the site.8Developing the garden.8Support and funding for the garden.9Continuing education of community and garden members.9Role of Extension.9Grant Resources.10Request for Assistance. 13Additional Resources. 15

WHAT IS A COMMUNITY GARDEN?A community garden is a tract of private or public land gardened by friends, neighborsor groups of people, utilizing either individual or shared plots. Community gardenscan be located in neighborhoods, schools, and in public housing; incorporated withhospitals, nursing homes, and senior centers. It may be on the outskirts of a city or town,incorporated on vacant lots within city limits, or in a homeowner’s backyard.The American Community Gardening Association (ACGA) recognizes that communitygardening improves people’s quality of life by providing a catalyst for neighborhoodand community development, stimulating positive social interaction and recreation,encouraging self-reliance, beautifying neighborhoods, producing nutritious food, reducingfamily food budgets, conserving resources and creating opportunities for recreation,exercise, therapy and education.BENEFITS OF COMMUNITY S.PRESERVES.CREATES.REDUCES.PROVIDES.the quality of life for people in the gardena catalyst for neighborhood & community developmentsocial interactionself-relianceneighborhoodsnutritious foodfamily food budgetsresourcesopportunity for recreation, exercise, therapy, & educationcrimegreen spaceincome opportunities and economic developmentcity heat from streets and parking lotsopportunities for intergenerational and cross-cultural connectionsCommunity gardens can also teach youth about:w Job and life skillsw Basic business principlesw Where their food comes fromw Environmental stewardship and sustainabilityw Practical math skillsw How to interact with each other in aphysically productive and sociallymeaningful way*American Community Garden Association, 2009Community Garden Toolkit3

CHALLENGES OF COMMUNITY GARDENSw Finding land that will support the community garden – securing land for usew Long-term viabilityw Lack of community interest/involvement – need for volunteersw Theft/vandalismw Neighborhood/wild animalsw Finding resources for building/maintenancew Water and electricityw Organic versus Conventional gardeningw Disputes and conflicts concerning membership fees (if any), regulations, gardeningpractices, or layout of the garden site.TYPES OF COMMUNITY GARDENSYouth/School GardensGardens developed in a formal or informal environment; incorporates hands-on gardeningwith classroom instructions.Therapy GardensHorticultural therapy gardens aimed at nursing homes, hospitals, senior centers,prisons, etc.Community/G.I.F.T. GardensCan also be “Youth Led, Adult Supervised”Gardens created by community members who help develop and share in the work/harvest.Food harvested is for all members in the community garden, or donated to local foodpantriesFood Pantry GardensFood grown is donated to local food banks4Community Garden Toolkit

LOCAL COMMUNITY GARDENSBond CountyMarion CountyTHE SIMPLE ROOMG.I.F.T./EducationalGarden405 Franklin AvenueGreenville, IL 62246Clinton CountyTRENTONGARDENG.I.F.T. GardenTrenton, ILJefferson CountyANGEL’S COVEBaptist Children’s Home& Family Services4243 Lincolnshire DriveMt. Vernon, IL 62864LIFEBOAT GARDENG.I.F.T. GardenLifeboat Alliance1717 JeffersonMt. Vernon, IL 62864MT. VERNONCOMMUNITY GARDENG.I.F.T. GardenVeterans Memorial ParkMt. Vernon, IL 62864SPERO FAMILYSERVICES GARDEN2023 E. Richview Rd.Mt. Vernon, IL 62864CENTRALIACOMMUNITYGARDENG.I.F.T. GardenCentralia, IL 62801MARION COUNTYHOUSING AUTHORITYSTRAW BALE GARDENLincoln CourtCentralia, IL 62801MARION COUNTYHOUSING AUTHORITYSTRAW BALE GARDENOdin Senior LivingOdin, IL 62870SALEM CENTRALCOMMUNITY GARDENU of I G.I.F.T. GardenElm and Pearl StreetsSalem, IL 62881MARION COUNTYHOUSING AUTHORITYSTRAW BALE GARDENGlenview 1Salem, IL 62881Washington CountyHOYLETONCHILDREN’S GARDENTrinity Lutheran Church680 W. Walnut StNashville, IL 62263ST. JOHN’S LUTHERAN CHURCH GARDEN15538 State Route 127New Minden, IL 62263Community Garden Toolkit5

ROLE OF COMMUNITY ORGANIZERSCommunity organizers work with people to improve the conditions of a community andtry to enhance their quality of life. Creating a community garden requires the organizerto define goals of the garden, help people identify strengths, assets, opportunities andchallenges, organize resources, and to keep track of and evaluate the work.A committed organizer is crucial to the success of a community garden. This personshould:Establish leadership rolesDevelopment of PLANNING COMMITTEE consisting of 6-8 individuals that are committedto developing the garden, such as designing, developing an operational plan, obtainingresources, preparation of garden budget, management of volunteers, etc. Designation ofone person as a general garden coordinator can serve as the contact person between theplanning committees and the community organizations.Develop rules and regulations (by-laws) for the community gardenw Develop organizational plan (designation of garden manager/assistant manager,fees, hours of operation, volunteer work schedule, etc.)w Who will use the garden? What criteria will be used to choose?w Who will maintain the garden? Will it have employees or member volunteers?w Legal ramifications on private/public propertyw Handling disputes between gardenersw Insurance coveragePlanning Committee responsibilitiesRESEARCH/LOCATE land. Maps of publicly owned lands can be obtained from local citygovernment. Other land options can be on church land, privately owned vacant land, orunder-used lots throughout your county. Items to keep in mind when researching land:w What was the land used for in the past? Is there a possibility of soil contamination?w Will the land be leased or donated? Will there be fees associated with this?w If the land will be leased, check with an attorney to determine a need for rights of accessto the use/access of the land, as well as liability issues and insurance.w Will the garden be on public land or private land? Will there be fees associated with this?w Public land not always best option. If contract(s) are not renewed, then the garden hasno choice but to move. If on private land, try to obtain a contract that is at least threeyears.6Community Garden Toolkit

FORM subcommittees to address specific topicsw Funding acquisitions and partnersw Garden constructionw Communication and media publicityw Educational subcommitteew Policy/rules/regulations for the gardenINITIATE a garden budget for site clearing, purchasing materials, soil testing andimprovement, buildings, etc.NAME the garden.PLANNING THE GARDENWhat is the purpose and goal of the community garden?Many of today’s social issues, such as poor nutrition, declining levels of physical andpsychological health, or unsafe/polluted environments can give reasons to develop acommunity garden. Many gardens help to beautify the area, promote neighborhoodcooperation by working together for the greater good, or assist the community withdonations of fresh fruits and vegetables to the local food pantry.Is there a demand?Organizers will need to assess whether there is sufficient interest for a communitygarden. Interest should come from families and individuals who are committed tousing a neighborhood garden, not just well-meaning supporters. Draw up a list of atleast ten families within the area to determine an interest.Does the community garden fit into the neighborhood, and willneighbors be agreeable to have a community garden within theirneighborhood?Schedule community meetings and create a neighborhood survey to obtain commentsand concerns from the public. Address issues before committing resources to theproject.List ideas from the survey’s and public meetings, then sort outpriorities and alternatives.Community Garden Toolkit7

CHOOSING AND EVALUATING THE SITEw Is it accessible?w What are the hours of sunlight – most fruit and vegetables require at least 6 hours of fullsunlight. Trees overhanging or along the side of a garden can reduce the amount ofsunlight into the growing area.w Soil quality – getting a soil test should be a priority once the site is determined. Testingfor contaminates and heavy metals in city or urban areas may be required, based on thehistory of the land.w Water accessibility – is it available either through city access or surface/ground water.Testing of surface and ground water should be a priority once the site is determined.w Electricity – this can be optionalw Zoning concerns – check with local city, county, and township regulations to see whetherthere are issues with developing a community garden at the chosen site.DEVELOPING THE GARDENw Will the garden be organic/non-organic? If both, how will the garden be divided, andwhat pesticides will be used?w Will the garden plots be tilled or no-tilled?w Will plots for local food banks be established? Who will manage these plots?w Will the garden incorporate handicapped facilities?w Will there be an area designated for children?w Will the garden have year-round gardening or only during summer months?w Will the garden plots be individually managed or will there be common growing areas?w Planting responsibilities/pesticide sprayingw Harvesting responsibilities8Community Garden Toolkit

SUPPORT AND FUNDING FOR THE GARDENw Where will funding come from for the initiation and sustainability of the garden(plant sales, grants, local businesses, etc.)w How will the garden acquire materials for buildings, fencing, raised beds, bulletinboard, tools, soil/seeds, etc.w How will it be built and who will buildCONTINUING EDUCATION OFCOMMUNITY AND GARDEN MEMBERSw Incorporate hands-on educational programs for gardeners or local communityw Newsletters for community gardeners to know what needs to be done monthly in thegarden areaROLE OF EXTENSIONUniversity of Illinois Extension has the knowledge and resources to assist your groupor organization in the development of a community garden. Extension volunteers areavailable to make site visits through the planning, development, and implementationstages, as well as follow-up visits during the growing seasons. Training workshopscan be developed on a wide range of horticultural and marketing topics, based onthe needs of each individual community garden. University of Illinois Extension hasnumerous Horticulture and Small Farm/Local Food publications that are available atall Extension Offices as well as on the internet (refer to “Resources” section of thispublication). It will be the responsibility of community garden organizers to performtheir own fundraising, site preparation, purchasing of hardscape material, planting,maintenance, and harvesting. Please stop in at your local Extension Office to see whatwe can do for you!Community Garden Toolkit9

GRANT ponsibility/gro1000/ 1500 to local communities to help bring edible gardens, flower gardens and public green spacesto neighborhoods across the United s/The National Gardening Association Kids Gardening Resources – A number of grant opportunitiesto schools and other educational programs that help build youth gardens and sponsorconservation x.htmlU.S. Department of Health & Human Services Grant Information – provides resources to connectfaith-based and community organizations to grant rs.htmlGreen Education Foundation and Gardeners Supply Company – Green Thumb Challenge Grant –schools and youth groups; 250.00 price for submitting chronicles of their garden ants/Wal-Mart. Awarded to organizations of all sizes in communities around the globe. Awards grantsof 250.00 and up, depending on type of program being ity-grantsWal-Mart local community grants are awarded through an open application process and providefunding directly from Walmart and Sam’s Club facilities to local organizations in the U.S. Recreation and Park Association Grow Your Garden Grants; developed to benefit lowincome families through the donation of locally grown fruits and vegetables. it Forward Garden Grants. – the grant is for nonprofit causes or organizations (schools, 501(c)(3), food banks, community gardens, colleges, libraries, prisons, etc.); up to 500 (cash, seeds nge-ThumbFiskars Grant and Garden Makeover; for cash and tools – up to involvement/grant-sponsorshipBlue Cross Blue Shield Illinois Grant and Sponsorship Programs: Supporting Community Efforts;Healthy Kids, Healthy Families and Community Partners gramsClif Bar Family Foundation Grant Programs; made to nonprofit nity/home-depot-foundation-grantsHome Depot. Through our Community Impact Grants, we award up to 5,000 to registerednonprofit organizations to help fund community projects.10Community Garden Toolkit

GRANT RESOURCES Grants issued to educators who are interested in receiving support to design and implementhands-on environmental /topic.aspx?tid 85010Large listing of grants available, by application due date or ants/Project Learning Tree has offered GreenWorks! grants to schools and youth organizations forenvironmental service-learning /communityimpactgrants#qualifygrant-programHome Depot grants – up to 5000 – are available to IRS-registered 501(c) designatedorganizations and tax-exempt public service agencies in the U.S.; planting trees or communitygardens and/or landscaping community facilities that serve ants-page/Best Buy Community d Ones – native plants, natural landscapes; enhancement of schoolyards; cash grants under 500 available for plants and seeds Environmental Education (EE) Grants – supports environmental education projects thatpromote environmental awareness and stewardship grants and other funding bor-citizenship-grantsState Farm. Good Neighbor Citizenship Company Grants – focus on safety, education,and community development intended to advance access, equity, and inclusiveness whilediscouraging harmful discrimination; available to educational institutions, municipal/government programs, nonprofits, volunteer fire, and chambers of onsibility/associates-in-actionKohl’s Volunteer Program – associates donate personal time to volunteer with eligiblenonprofit rdens/Annie’s Grants for Gardens – For schools and educational programs that help build rant/Katie’s Krops – empowers kids across the United States to grow a healthy end to hunger intheir community – provides grower boxes.Community Garden Toolkit11

GRANT RESOURCES amNational Institute of Food and Agriculture – Community Food Projects and Planning Projects.Support the development of projects with a one-time infusion of federal dollars to make suchprojects unding for gardens – Grants are on a sliding unity/grantsAmeren Illinois Charitable Grant Program – monetary grants for tax-exempt organizations withinAmeren Illinois service area to support environment, youth and education, civic/community, healthand human services, and arts/culture /community-grantFoundation for Rural Service. Offers aid for communities served by NTCA members through itsannual Community Grants ng-opportunities-205Americas Promise Alliance. Funding opportunities from a list of programs focusing on teachers,communities, and te-responsibility/philanthropy/grants-faqsTarget Grants.Lowes Foundation GrantsThe Lowe’s Foundation has recently changed how it identifies organizations for support. Althoughapplications for its Community Partners Grants are now accepted by invitation only, interestedorganizations can introduce themselves via email at ble-giving.htmlCostco Charitable Contributions. Focuses on programs supporting children, education, and healthand human services in the communities where we do ty/supportBig Lots! Support is provided in the form of monetary gifts, gift cards, and merchandise s/ao survey.form?x gm id 5622&xsection id 1371942&x quiz survey id 40510Nordstrom Cares. Donates to worthy nonprofits in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. Focus onprograms and organizations that care for kids and empower youth, and also support otherprograms and organizations that have a significant impact on munitiesTJ Maxx. Helping vulnerable families and children access the resources and opportunities theyneed to build a better future.12Community Garden Toolkit

COMMUNITYGARDENREQUEST FOR ASSISTANCEDate Submitted:County:Contact Name:Contact Address:City/State:Zip Code:Phone Number:E-mail address:Garden name and location:Is this: m an existing garden m a garden being developed?Are you or your organization the land owner?m Yesm NoIf no, do you or your organization have a contract with the land owner?m Yesm NoIs there insurance on the garden property?m Yesm NoIs there an established planning committee in place for the garden?m Yesm NoIf no, please explain:Does your group have basic gardening experience?m Yesm NoWho will the garden serve?Does your garden have a particular philosophy or mission statement?Are there established rules/regulations for the garden?m Yesm NoIf no, please explain:(Continued on back)

What are the best and worst features of your existing or proposed garden site?Have you talked with the neighbors about your gardening project? m Yesm NoIf yes, what were their reactions?Is there funding/materials available to create/maintain the garden? (please explain)If the garden is not built yet, who will build it?What particular questions do you have?I/we would like U of I Extension to: m Schedule a site visitm Assist in the design/development/implementationof the gardenm Provide educational informationPlease send completed form to:University of Illinois ExtensionATTN: ANR Extension EducatorJefferson County Extension Office4618 BroadwayMt. Vernon, IL 62864Or answer the questions in an e-mail and send to OF AGRICULTURAL, CONSUMER & ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCESUniversity of Illinois · U.S. Department of Agriculture · Local Extension Councils CooperatingUniversity of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment.If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please contact your local Extension office.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCESUniversity of Illinois Extension - Bond, Clinton, Jefferson, Marion& Washington Counties Food Systems & Small Farms -foods-small-farmsUniversity of Illinois Extension Horticulture cultureUniversity of Missouri Extension Community Gardening scpubs/mp0906.pdfAmerican Community Gardening Association of Illinois “Watch Your Garden Grow” Market Maker Garden Toolkit15

g Bond, Clinton, Jefferson, Marion and Washington CountiesUniversity of Illinois · U.S. Department of Agriculture · Local Extension Councils CooperatingUniversity of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment.If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please contact your local Extension office.Updated January 2021


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