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

So, you want to start a Sharing Garden!

The Sharing Gardens model for community gardening is a wonderful, efficient, fun way to grow lots of food, build community, support local food-charities and create habitat for wildlife and pollinators. Overview and Benefits of a Sharing Garden

Below, you will find an outline for how to get started with relevant links to posts on our site. If you have specific questions that you can't find answers to, feel free to contact us: LINK.

One of the first steps in starting a Sharing Garden is to create a Mission Statement (or outline of goals). This will give your group clear guidance and give you something to share with a fiscal agent, potential grantors/donors and others who may wish to get involved. Like the "Overview", the Mission Statement provides a clear outline of what your project does for the community. Here's ours: Mission Statement.

How do the finances work? For many people starting out, their most pressing questions relate to financing the project. The Sharing Gardens first began under the umbrella of a Community Center which had non-profit status. They could receive grants for us and write tax-receipts to donors of cash and materials. They were our "fiscal agent". We recommend this path, at least for starting your project since applying for non-profit status can be a lengthy and complex process.

Location: Obviously, you'll need some land for your gardens. Our Sharing Gardens first operated in a small, rural park and eventually moved to private land which was loaned to us by its owner until we were able to purchase it several years later. Important things to consider: adequate water-supply, fencing (to keep out undesirable people, pets and wildlife. Be sure the land was never used as a parking lot, or gravel road or been exposed to any toxic chemicals. LINK: How Big and Where should a SG Be?

Documentation - Photos and website: As soon as we found land and a fiscal agent, we began taking photographs of our progress and posting them on our blog. Here is a link to our very first post, on our original site. You can follow the posts forward in time to see how the blog and project progressed through time. We have found Google's Blogger app very user-friendly (and it's free to use).

Our blog has become a valuable tool for communication, education and inspiration. Our posts cover "News and Updates", "How-To" articles, recipes, inspirational messages and highlights of similar projects dedicated to sharing, and reflections on the philosophy of 'radical sharing' and 'full-circle generosity' that is the basis for how the gardens thrive. Here are some other categories you may wish to include on your site:

Garden Location, Volunteer Times: We post different hours for volunteers in summer and winter. Generally, volunteers (called 'share-givers') come on a weekly basis through the growing season (committing to one of our regularly scheduled sessions). In the winter people contact us when they have time/interest to be in the gardens and we incorporate them into winter sessions as we are able.

Wish List: The Sharing Gardens thrive on using donated materials whenever possible. We have a strong commitment to salvaging building materials and re-using/re-purposing things to keep them out of landfills and burn-piles. An up-to-date wish-list gives a tangible way your community can support your project while clearing the clutter from their land and homes. We maintain a general list of the kinds of things people might have laying around that they might wish to donate, even if we no longer have an immediate use for them. The Sharing Gardens has become a hub of sharing in our community. Those surplus materials that we can't use find their way to other gardens and neighbors in our community to further our "circle of sharing".

Contact the Media: Having positive media attention can help you spread the word, find new volunteers and get donations of cash and materials. We have a page on our blog with links to most of the media attention we have received over the years. Sharing Gardens in the News

Remember to express gratitude! By chronicling all the contributions to your project (volunteers, monetary and materials-donations) you demonstrate your success and inspire others to be generous in their giving. "It Takes a Village..!" - Gratitude Journal

Letters of Support: Save copies of letters of support from individuals and agencies as these too help you tell the story of your project and its impact on the lives of people you touch. They are also useful in procuring grants and donations.

We freely offer this information for your benefit. If this is useful and you would like to show your appreciation though a donation, click on the button below (you will automatically be provided with a receipt for your tax-deductible donation).

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