Our biggest successes this season are that we have 7 new families that have joined our garden by maintaining a plot for the growing season, we were asked by a local farmers market to grow for them and table at the market each week which in turn we can get more exposure, we have hired a local community member with a stipend to build produce washing stations for the local gardens, learn how to care for the bees at the garden, harvest and table at the farmers market as well as work with the Step Up youth that join us in the garden 3-4 days a week with a project called Growing North. We have also maintained a greenhouse that will give us opportunity to extend growing season.
What challenges did or does your project face?
The challenges we face are always the same year after year. We have a hard time finding volunteers to keep the garden maintained to our high expectations.There are a few of us that put in the most work all season. We are working hard on building strong relationships with the folks at the garden, community members. It is always a struggle to find folks to volunteer extra time in their already busy lives besides what they put into their own plots.
How are you working to overcome them?
We started a volunteer log, whoever has the most volunteer hours each month receives a $50 gift card. We are trying to incentivise and show appreciation for the help in keeping our space beautiful! We are also trying out new ideas in getting people to stay committed to growing with us.
What did you or your project learn this season that might be useful to others as well?
We learned that having the help of the Seed Money has helped us hire someone for a few hours a week to help us in accomplishing our goals and dreams for Cleveland Neighborhood Farm. We can't do it alone and need support from the community. We learned that building relationships and showing gratitude is very important in building and maintaining friendships.