Gardeners are Volunteers
Volunteers are Very Important
With all garden volunteers we:
1. Explain what is involved in each of the areas where you
want to engage volunteers.
2. Spell out the time and type of task so people can
understand fully what is involved.
3. Invite people personally to take a role or undertake a
4. Take time to value what the garden volunteers do by
saying thank you.
5. Accept that there can be a 50% turnover in volunteers
during one gardening year.
6. Know that the garden can thrive with new people coming on
board to volunteer.
7. Welcome youth with school groups and faith community
teams for short term garden projects.
8. Welcome corporate day of caring
opportunities. Corporations can donate a team of their staff
to volunteer as a group on community projects during office
hours. On a corporate day of volunteering we:
- Discuss ahead of time the kind of tasks that the
corporate volunteers are able to do under the terms of their
- Prepare a detailed plan of the work to be done in advance
so that small teams of people can be assigned to different
- Implement good safety practices.
- Make sure all people are involved completely and no one
is standing around wondering why they came.
- Serve a hearty lunch for the volunteers and have
beverages and snacks for mid-morning and afternoon.
- Write a thank you letter to the team lead expressing
enthusiastic gratitude for the community improvements they made
- Connect with the Calgary Attendance Centre work crews for
heavy labour, non-gardening projects by contacting John Lee, Senior
Probation Officer, Calgary Attendance Centre.
- Track volunteer hours contributed in all
forms. Listing the total of volunteer hours is a very
compelling addition to any grant proposal. It demonstrates
how the garden is a valued and important feature of the
Engaging Volunteers in Community Gardening
People become inspired when they can see that there are worthwhile
and achievable goals being set. When they can see how to
become connected and have fun, they will feel comfortable enough to
Understand that when a person volunteers, it is a person's
heart, mind and spirit that are being offered and shared. Plan your
actions as garden leaders with the understanding that the heart,
mind and spirit needs to be acknowledged as the garden goes
Be respectful of everyone's time. Divide up tasks into
small packages that need a small amount of time to
accomplish. Show these tasks to volunteer and invite them to
pick ones that interest them and match the time they have to
Activity: List 3 ways to recognize the heart, mind and spirit of
People who feel they are part of the community garden will be
in the present and future well-being of the garden and its
gardeners. When people feel engaged, they are more likely to
step up and volunteer.
Activity: Identify what can be done to create, encourage and
increase a sense of belonging for gardeners and visitors to the
community garden. Be specific on how your garden team makes
decisions and how gardeners can have input to make suggestions.
List 3 ways to create a sense of belonging in this garden for
different age groups.