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Community Chat 4/18 on Community Engagement

  • 1.  Community Chat 4/18 on Community Engagement

    Posted 04-14-2023 09:14:00 AM

    Hi! Our next Community Chat is Tuesday, April 18th on the theme of "Growing Together" (AKA ways to build and grow community through your garden). This is a great Chat to talk about engaging your community for support (volunteers, donations, etc.), hosting events or project work days in your garden, how to represent and lift up your community's diversity in your garden, mentorship programs between youth age groups or with adults, and so much more!

    Super excited to have @Pam Hosimer on as a topic specialist to share her many ideas. Pam will be presenting a session this year at the National Children and Youth Garden Symposium on the theme of "Tapping into Your Local Gardening Community" (how to create a sustainable gardening program with strong ties to your community).

    Here's the link to register for the Community Chat. Feel free to share this with anyone who might be interested!

    (And if you're new to Community Chats, you can learn more about them here.)

    Amelia Dupuis
    Kids Garden Community Manager

  • 2.  RE: Community Chat 4/18 on Community Engagement

    Posted 04-19-2023 10:50:00 AM
      |   view attached

    Fantastic Community Chat yesterday on community engagement. I'm feeling super grateful for this community and how supportive all of you are (I would insert a heart emoji if that was an option on here). 

    We didn't share resource links during this Chat as we have in many others so I took notes on some of the key ideas that were shared and listed those below as a summary of sorts. The full recording is attached and time stamps below for those who want to dive deeper and/or connect with anyone from the Chat.

    Are there any other questions or ideas folks want to share???

    Broad themes and suggestions related to community engagement: 

    • Get to know your community members! 
    • Share about your program at community meetings and events and have a presence at a local farmer's market or see if you can have materials there about your garden program
    • Connect with your local Master Gardeners (if they're interacting with students that can count as "education" and count toward volunteer hour requirements)
    • Connect with your local county extension office (they can connect you with other gardens in the area, master gardeners, local grant opportunities, and often offer low-cost or free workshops)
    • Look for ways that you can support other garden programs and they could then support yours
    • Reach out to the parents and caregivers of your youth participants (they might have skills and connections that could help your program - e.g. tools to borrow, carpentry skills to build a raised bed, a source for soil donations, etc.)
    • Connect with your local nurseries (could also offer some free consultation services for your program)! 
    • Thank any organizations that contribute to your garden and show the impact of their donation/support (show pictures of your garden, thank you notes from kids, bouquets from the garden, etc.)
    • Think about what will motivate people to volunteer (an opportunity to socialize or learn something new) - people are more likely to come if they will get something out of it
    • Connect with groups that have volunteer hour requirements (HS groups like National Honor Society, 4H, Boy/Girl/Eagle Scouts, church youth organizations, etc.)

    Some specific engagement ideas: 

    • Pumpkin collection - have families drop off their old pumpkins to add to the compost
    • See if your local nurseries can donate seeds at the end of the season that have not sold
    • Many local or regional restaurants/businesses might support local orgs with a "donate portion of proceeds" fundraiser for a window of time
    • See if your local hardware stores can offer items at wholesale prices or make donations
    • Some donation sources you might not have thought of: local banks, utility companies (could support irrigation), tree removal companies (for mulch!), hospitals/health centers/health departments, local environmental education orgs, farm bureaus (they may have education committees that want to work with schools/youth orgs!), local agriculture orgs (and soil and water departments), local grocery stores (can donate food and drinks for a garden work day!)
    • If there are any articles or promotional materials about your program, include information about how to support your program or get involved
    • Use sign up genius or another tool to keep a list of garden needs and projects that can be distributed to parents/community
    • See if you can access a foundation directory at your local library to check out grant opportunities
    • Host a guest speaker/lesson/workshop in your garden (soil, seeds, composting, etc.)
    • If you're at a school or larger organization, have a "beautification" or "clean up the campus" event and introduce people to the garden as part of it
    • See if there is a local organization that wants to sponsor one of your garden projects and/or have an employee volunteer day in your garden
    • Is your garden close to a senior center? This can be a great opportunity to have community speakers from the senior center, multi-generational activities, have a garden club meet at the senior center and build a garden there, etc.
    • College students might have service learning projects they want to do in your garden
    • Host events or promote toolkits/activities for grandparents to garden with their grandkids!
    • Coordinate a reading/storytime program where high school students select books to read to younger students either during school hours or at community gardens as a family storytime program
    • Show appreciation for grandparents/seniors/other community groups by having kids make crafts/gifts from the garden
    • Include garden updates/info about your garden in school and community newsletters, PTA newsletters, bulletin boards at grocery stores, create Facebook events, local online forums (does your neighborhood have a forum/chat/FB group?), ads or interviews on your local radio station, publicize via the chamber of commerce, have students create videos/pictures about the garden that you can share

    Recording time stamps:

    12:25 - Ideas for engaging your community (who and in what ways)

    19:30 - Tapping into your community for donations (supplies and money)

    35:00 - Tips for building a volunteer base when you don't have a specific volunteer "ask" or immediate project

    46:30 - Ideas for multi-generational gardening and gardening with multiple youth age groups

    55:00 - Ideas for communicating with the community

    Amelia Dupuis
    Kids Garden Community Manager