Plants and Grants Department, This Is Ben Speaking

A meeting is happening at the Ag Extension conference rooms at 4 o’clock this Monday, and if you’re interested in community work and gardening, you’ll want to come listen in.

There are over ten active non-profit, church, and school gardens doing work in the High Country. For education, for production, for donation to the hungry— all of these different projects represent an organization that sees the benefit of incorporating sustainable agriculture into their organizational structure. Along the same lines of that sentiment, there must be a benefit to linking the efforts of all of these gardens. By considering the strengths and needs of each garden project as part of the same effort, think we can do more than we’ve ever done before. Blue Ridge Women In Agriculture has recently hired a new Garden Coordinator to help do this. That’s what this meeting is about, so if you’re a community-minded gardener it’d be awesome if you could make it!

What this will mean is you as a gardener will have a person to call to help you find cheap compost, storage space, and volunteer help in the coming season. The theory is that with a dedicated support role to help the culture of community gardening flourish, garden managers can plan and measure bigger garden days, get the most out of their space, and make sure every bit of their harvest is distributed. I imagine if we could develop this web of support, we could do Amish-barn-raising style projects where a large groups of people help accomplish projects that amplify the impact of individual garden projects. It could lead to new in-neighborhood growing sites being created, if we can prove ourselves right and make some big leaps with the projects at hand.

NBB Bike Text logo 4-color
Projects Funded: Youth Environmental Education, Sustainable Agriculture, Smart Growth, Bike Advocacy, & Water Conversation Restoration.

Lots of funders sponsor garden projects with grants too— The New Belgium company has a really cool one.

They give grants to sustainable agriculture projects among lots of other awesome things. They ask all the typical grant questions, and would like you to have a non-profit status but can provide for materials for building on old projects or beginning something new. All we need are ideas, and people willing to build them into a fitting framework.

We could find funding for an after school youth gardening program. Or money to add a permaculture installation to marginal town space. Or a new trailer to haul compost to local gardens. Yeah, it will take the right situation, and a lot of work to get any of these things done. Well, we’re actively creating the situation and what better do we have to be working on than how to feed our community ourselves?

Let’s see where this goes- comes put yourself in the picture and see where the Garden Coordinator project is at, and help us shape where it could go. Only by putting ourselves out there can we do more than we are right now. Be the one who goes there first, see what you can make it all add up to.


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