Gardening for Life!

Growing Your Garden Team

A garden team is central to the success of a community garden.  If the group is short on garden leaders at the first few meetings, take time to look around for additional people in the neighbourhood. 

Invite garden members to do specific jobs or tasks and ask them individually. A friendly personal invitation is the most influential factor in whether a person actively participates in the garden.

Welcome people who want to help get a garden launched but will not be gardening as well as people who want to rent a garden space after the garden construction is finished.  There are people everywhere who like to build things, happily write grant proposals or complete paperwork if it will help make the neighbourhood a better place.

Be specific on how your garden team makes decisions and how gardeners can have input to make suggestions.  Take a vote on items where you need a decision and where there are differing viewpoints amongst the gardeners.

We have People on Our Garden Team  who are the:

Community Go-Getters: non-gardening residents who want to see a garden set up  because of the friendly neighbourhood it will encourage.

Garden Team Communicator with City of Calgary: acts as communicator between the garden team and the Parks Community Strategist Staff and works on the land site approval.

Garden Team Communicator with the Community Association: connects with the community association board and keeps them informed on the progress of the community garden..
Garden Team Communicator with Calgary Horticultural Society: contacts Community Garden Resource Network for information, upcoming educational workshops, seeks advice or problem solving help at any point in the life of the community garden.

Builders: non-gardening residents who will help plan the construction and act as crew leads  for volunteers on garden build days and may not be interested in gardening.

Gardener Communicator Leads: get the news to garden members and to the neighbourhood residents.  For garden members using the Internet, a garden blog, Facebook page, online group, wiki or email is good for information sharing.  For members that do not have access to the Internet it is important to keep in touch by phone or postal mail.  If it is important to get a message or sentiment across, it is essential to do it in person or by telephone.  A regular column in the community newsletter or a section of the community association web site are good ways for all neighbourhood residents to find out about garden news.

Garden Financial Team: prepares budget based on costs identified by and discussed with the Garden Layout Team.  Directs bookkeeping, grant applications, pursuit of cash and  in-kind donations.  Collaborates with community association  for expenditures of funds in the community garden account.  Fundraising activities are usually coordinated with Social Events Team Leads.

Garden Membership Assistant: keeps track of gardener registration, the waitlist and fee payment.

Garden Layout Team:  assembles a draft drawing of the garden based on the land site and the garden elements desired by this community.  Brings this draft for discussion and editing to the gardeners.  Arranges an open house for all residents to drop-in and see the proposed garden layout drawing and discuss its features.

Weekly Garden Angels / Garden Heroes: all gardeners take one week in the growing season to check the garden each day, coach new gardeners, check for abandoned garden beds, let new gardeners know that their crops are ready to pick, water garden beds of gardeners away on holiday etc.
Compost Team Leads: They know how to manage and maintain a healthy composting system. They educate all gardeners on how to contribute and care for the composting system.

Food Surplus Sharing Lead: Plans food sharing.  Community gardeners plan for sharing surplus food and flowers grown by dedicating some growing space for local donation or informally share surpluses with neighbourhood residents.

Gardening Coaches:  people willing to drop by the garden at pre-arranged times to chat with new gardeners and answer their questions.  Invite residents known to be experienced gardeners to act as a gardening coaches even if they are not participating in the community garden.  In order to bring more residents in touch with the garden ask some residents to act as a coach  for planting days and others for thinning sessions and harvest times.

Gardening Gratitude Lead: Everyone needs to be acknowledged for their contribution to the success of the garden on a daily basis, for special projects and in formal, informal and fun ways.

Garden Talent Scout: Lives change, people move.  The talent scout keeps an eye on knowledge transfer so that each garden leader has another person who helps them in what they do (like an apprentice).   Then when a member of the garden team leaves the community garden, there is another gardener who knows what they do and can pass this on to others.

Garden Social Events Team Leads: people who want to make the garden an informal, relaxed, light hearted place for everyone to enjoy!