A unique and viable approach to establishing local food self-reliance and building stronger communities.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Illinois Sharing Garden

We recently received this enthusiastic email from someone who feels inspired to start a Sharing Garden in Illinois. Our response follows:

Hello :0) My Name is Angelica T.  I live in Illinois. I just saw your video on youtube with Peakmoment. My Boyfriend and I have grown most of our own veggies for 3 years now. I work at a school in the Cafe so I have the summers off, unless I find a summer job. We are always talking about the unused land just sitting there with grass and lots if sun. I LOVE the Garden Sharing idea. I have Lots of spots in mind and would LOVE your help. Please tell me how to go about it. I think it might be to late this year but I could get the ground ready and fences up for next year. I have no idea on how I would go about applying for a grant or any of it. Oh Please help me. When I was young I wanted to change the world, if you were to help I think we might.

Thanks for reading
Angie :0)

Hi Angie - So great to hear from you! Your enthusiasm is like wind in our sails! The need for local communities to become empowered to grow their own food and save seed is becoming more important than ever. It is also imperative that we move beyond the profit motive when it comes to feeding the people of the world. "Sharing Gardens" give people a non-threatening way to build a sense of community, learn important skills, eat healthier, live lighter on the planet and have fun doing it!

We will help you as much as we are able.

Chris and I started small: the first year we did about 95% of the gardening, fence-building etc. ourselves. The second year is when we began bringing in more volunteer help. Don't know if your project will follow the same pattern but don't be discouraged if you have a small group involved at first. If everyone is aligned and committed you will probably get more done than if you have a large, loose group of people who aren't fully on-board.

You will want to find a local non-profit agency to be your "fiscal agent". This means you can apply for grants through them. They will then distribute the grant monies to you as you provide receipts for your spending. If you write a grant that includes a stipend for you and other coordinators, it is possible to be compensated somewhat for your time.

I would encourage you to find a site to begin developing (as you said...). Then you'll be ready for planting next spring. You might also wish to start a Blog or Facebook fan page so you can document your experience and keep others informed.

Be of good cheer! Keep us posted on your progress.

Llyn (and Chris)

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