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.
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.
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".
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.