Thursday, August 6, 2009

Goals and Practical Outcomes of the Urban Share Community Gardening Project:

· Create 3 rooftop, 15 sidewalk, 8 raised bed and 2 lot gardens throughout the city.

· Create an internship program that enables 4 youth and 12 individuals living in poverty to learn vocational skills.

· Create opportunities for communities to participate in gardening projects that are diverse, accessible, safe and educational. Increase the number of meals the Welcome Ministry serves by at least 5,000.

· Educate 150 low income individuals and elderly persons about health and nutrition by providing them with the skills to take care of their food needs.

· Connect at least 15 organizations and 250 volunteers with the issues of hunger and health through the community gardening projects.

· Provide education about hunger and poverty issues to 56 organizations.

· Provide trauma care for 100 individuals.

Design Priority:

All garden projects will be designed with the following priorities (when possible):

Food Distribution- The gardens (except for sidewalk gardens where food plants are not permitted) will primarily grow food that, when harvested, will be distributed to the low income volunteers, interns or local organizations that feed or distribute food to low income individuals.

Accessibility- We seek to involve the entire community in our gardening projects, which includes people with disabilities. In addition to working with our ADA coordinator and the Mayor’s Office on Disabilities, this project will also: create raised bed gardens at a comfortable height for wheelchair access; work with local organizations and disability communities to create special gardening opportunities for disability communities; and establish a volunteer mentoring program to support regular ongoing participation of volunteers with special needs. The mentoring program will use the empowerment model and seek to provide trauma care, employment skill training and harm reduction lessons for low income community members.

Sustainability- Sidewalk gardens will be planted with native and other drought-tolerant plants that provide nectar and habitat for urban wildlife: birds, butterflies and bees. The gardens attract these animals back to our streetsides, water flows in to replenish the aquifers, and opportunities are created for volunteers to learn about the unique ecology and biological diversity here in the Bay Area. The sidewalk gardens contribute to local food sustainability because they attract beneficial insects, like pollinators to nearby gardens.

Education- Online materials, curriculum, exhibits and volunteer events will enable this program to be replicated by other groups and organizations. This will include listings of city and county laws, regulations, codes and permits needed to create gardens. Tours of the gardens will be available for educational purposes. Sidewalk gardens provide an opportunity for community members to see and interact with neighbors who are actively working the soil as volunteers, providing a great opportunity to educate the public about the less visible rooftop or back-yard food production gardens.

Creative Reuse- Using a model we call Urban Share, we will use recycled materials to build and maintain garden spaces and to create and support communal tool sharing projects.

Organic- Our project will teach people to garden and grow food without the use of harmful petroleum-based pesticides and fertilizers. We will build and educate each site on the use of a compost bin, which will recycle food and plant waste and create organic matter on site for each garden.

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