New Life Presbyterian Church Garden manager is committed to supporting all garden community members and creating an inclusive and welcoming environment at the Seeds of Hope Community Garden. They encourage cooperation, shared responsibilities, and foster mutually beneficial and respectful relationships between gardeners, neighbors, visitors, and Church staff.
The garden manager acts as the liaison between gardeners and Church staff and community and helps new gardeners integrate into the garden community. They educate gardeners about program rules, encourage community involvement, and help their garden to be a beautiful, productive community asset.
Going into our 10th garden season, Seeds of Hope has a leadership team comprised of our active community gardeners. With a 3-part charter of 1/3 New Life Church members, 1/3 surrounding community and 1/3 immigrant populations, Seeds of Hope aims to allow access to balanced mix of gardeners. The garden hosts 32 garden plots, with 4 raised beds for persons of disabilities and 2 plots designated for food shelf growing and donations. The garden manager is responsible for scheduling and leading leadership team meetings 3-4 times per garden season. We encourage a team approach because it helps share the diverse aspects of garden management and brings in different perspectives. Teams create more sustainable leadership which allows garden management to change so it does not always rely on the same person. Leadership teams open opportunities for everyone to have a role and use each person’s unique talents to make the garden greater as a whole.
The following tasks are important elements of a successful community garden manager:
Foster an inclusive community through community building and events. This may include:
Orient new gardeners to the site and be welcoming and friendly to all gardeners. Encourage gardeners to build relationships by facilitating introductions and communication among gardeners.
Coordinate kick-off day. Hand out garden agreements, collect agreements and garden fees.
Manage fees and any expenses by working with Church staff.
Coordinate garden clean-up days, gatherings, potlucks, and meetings.
Broaden site leadership by recruiting people to help with projects, produce donations, leading work days.
Seek collaboration, help, opinions, and participation.
Work with and foster growth opportunities with many community partners. Como Seed Savers, Arrive Ministries, Keystone Community Services, New Life Church ministries as examples.
Educate gardeners about program policies and work as a team with staff to encourage best practices for the benefit of the community. This may include:
Educate gardeners about program policies and provide seasonal reminders.
Coordinate garden cleaning dates with gardeners to encourage community building with gardeners.
Connect gardeners in need with resources or extra help.
Check in with gardeners and staff when plots are inactive.
Provide inclusive communication to gardeners about updates, events, resources, and policies. This may include:
Send emails using provided Gmail account for all garden manager email correspondence.
Use other forms of communication for gardens who do not use email such as phone calls, letters, and posting signs (inside Church, outdoor message board).
Work with staff to get messages translated into the languages spoken in your garden.
Recruit a language leader to help communicate with gardeners whose primary language is not English.
If you are a grant writer or would like to try this, our garden has benefitted from grants and we welcome new ideas and approaches. Community gardens are a great place to gain this experience!
Provide an end of the year garden summary to the church to include in the annual report.
Garden managers are self-selected or recruited by staff and outgoing leaders. Managers must register as a PP&R volunteer and pass a criminal history check which screens for major criminal convictions to ensure the safety of program participants. Garden leaders are encouraged to commit to a minimum of one full garden season and each fall will have the option of continuing onto the following year or assisting in recruiting a replacement. Two seasons is preferred to allow time to build relationships and learn the role.
Approximately 8-16 hours/month. Managers attend garden leader meetings, trainings, and meet with staff to identify goals and make plans for the site.