Can you suggest some helpful resources for starting a community garden?
B.G.MontanaAnswer: I have found several publications and resources that should be helpful in setting up your rural community garden. You may wish to look at the publication “Market Gardening: A Start-up Guide” which offers helpful advice on garden operations, sales, and marketing. Your local extension office should be able to offer helpful information on your garden project and be able to tell you about why some of the previous community garden attempts were unsuccessful. You can locate your local extension office at http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/index.html.Another helpful resource is Urban Community Gardens which offers a great list of resources, publications, funding opportunities, and how-to guides on getting started. The American Community Gardening Association (ACGA) offers a series of downloadable teleconferences on fundraising, farmers’ markets, garden entrepreneurship, garden leadership, and the “Community Gardener” newsletter. They also offer a community supported listserve to post questions and read the experiences of other community gardeners. The Food Share Community Gardening program offers helpful tools including a “Gardening Manual” and community garden tool-kit.The University of California Cooperative Extension also provides a Community Garden Start-Up Guide. The ATTRA Local Food Directory offers information and resources that will help you connect with local food buyers. The Community Food Security Coalition also provides great resources on community gardening and is well worth looking at. The Western Montana Sustainable Growers Union is a group of 12 Missoula-area organic farms that has developed the “Homegrown” label, which informs consumers that the food item is grown within 150 miles. City Farmer offers a great resource on urban agriculture, community gardening and sustainable agriculture. Rural Roots is a regional, 501(c)3 nonprofit food and farming organization dedicated to creating connections between sustainable producers, consumers, and other regional food and agricultural organizations. Local Harvest provides information on market opportunities, a discussion forum, and newsletter. The Grow Montana Project is worth taking a look at as well. Many related guides, projects and organizations that may be helpful in establishing and sustaining your community garden are available on our website http://attra.ncat.org/marketing.html. Resources:Bachmann, Janet. Market Gardening: A Start-up Guide. ATTRA Publication. 16 p.Bellows, Barbara C. et al. 2003. Bringing Local Food To Local Institutions. ATTRA Publication. 28 p.Bachmann, Janet. 2002. Farmers Markets. ATTRA Publication. 4 p.Walser, Ron. Starting a Community Vegetable Garden. 4 p.Berman, Laura. How Does Our Garden Grow? A Guide to Community Garden Success. Feenstra, Gail, et al. 1999. Entrepreneurial Community Gardens: Growing Food, Skills, Jobs and Communities. University of California Agriculture and Natural resources. 106 p.Naimark, Susan. 1982. A Handbook of Community Gardening by Boston Urban Gardeners. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York. ISBN 0-684-17466-9. Johnson, Dorothy & Bonlender, Rick. Creating Community Gardens. Minnesota State Horticultural Society. Urban Gardening Program: The Coordinator’s Book. The Pennsylvania State University Cooperative Extension Service.