Green Beings CSA Urban Farming Education and Outreach
• Work days- throughout the growing season we had two work days scheduled every month and 5-20 volunteers from different sources would attend to help maintain the garden, or help to develop new elements of the garden.
• School visits- a local high school, Metro High School had students visit several times during the season as part of their Biology lesson. Many students also attended the work days.
• Parties- there were two major parties during the year to reach out to community members and bring awareness to the project.
• Healthy Planet postings- The Green Beings’ work days were advertised in the monthly publication, The Healthy Planet. Green Beings’ was also represented with a booth at the “Healthy Planet Expo”; a biannual event bringing groups that advertise in the “Healthy Planet” together and open to the public.
• Tours of site- work days were generally scheduled around tours of the Ecovillage project and the garden
• Earth Day+ Green Living conference- Green Beings’ shared a booth with Irresistible Community Builders at both events to raise public awareness about the benefit and availability of local produce
• Block Party- Green Beings had a booth at a local block party at which more than more than 40 families from the neighborhood could decorate a pot with paint and found items. They planted flowers in the pots.
• Leasing land from Irresistible community builders
• Publishing in the Healthy Planet
• Paying for Sabrina Hilton’s time on the project
We had four paying members of the CSA and an informal non-paying member CSA that supported about 10 people for different parts of the season. We generated a lot of interest and support from the community. Education was incorporated with the work days, and demonstrations of gardening and cooking were part of the work days.
• How to get dirty. It was Sabrina’s first time planning such an involved garden project.
• Neighbor involvement is not a given- especially without a financial commitment from them
• People don’t inherently value fresh food- even if it is free.
• Cultural barriers that create resistance to the project
• Scope- we committed to more that was realistic in one year.
• Paying-CSA membership was very inexpensive and it seemed to limit their sustained interest throughout the season.
• How effective a garden is at facilitating relationships between neighbors- people did not hesitate to talk to those working about the garden or even serenade them.
WORK PLAN FOR 2009
For the 2009 season we hope to focus more on the community involvement of the project. The project is evolving to resemble more of a community garden, where interested parties are directly involved in planting and maintenance of the garden. We would like to invest in the Len’s Way soil mix to evaluate other methods of intensive food production. We had developed a strong relationship with a local organization, Operation Food Search that has asked to use the garden as a demonstration garden, and they have agreed to conduct nutrition and food preparation classes for our participants.
We are very fortunate in our access to media outlets. Irresistible Community Builders has enabled us to share our successes with the Eco-village community they are developing as well as the community at large through their various media outlets.
Throughout the season we had 80 different volunteers and countless more visitors to the site including 65 students from Metro High School. In the coming year development of the Eco-village will expand immensely, we are even considering creating Green Beings into a Co-op business that will be self sustaining, but these plans are still evolving.