With the support we received from our Seed Money Campaign, we accomplished the following over the last year:
• Secured our Pajaro Garden, which was slated for closure and the focus of our Seed Money campaign, for another year
• Sustained our garden membership
• Initiation of member-driven programming
• Progress on community leadership development
• Forward movement on becoming an independent 501(c)(3)
• Expanding our Advisory Board
• Member relationship building and outreach
• Garden management and gardener education
• Formalizing member communication and management
What challenges did or does your project face?
MVG’s new phase this year focuses on further developing the roles of our constituents in the organization and engaging our membership. If members aren’t inspired to join or participate in programs, MVG is just making space available for gardens. While creating access to healthy food for our neighbors is vitally important, we want to do more.
We are committed to empowering our garden members to take leadership roles in confronting food justice issues, thereby creating a strong MVG gardener community, focused on lifting up peers, neighbors, and family members. To do this, we recognize the need to shift our internal organizational culture away from the idea that we are only creating a space to grow food, and are becoming a member-driven organization with a more holistic approach to addressing food insecurity.
How are you working to overcome them?
MVG is focused on filling the gap between having the gardens available to grow food and creating an organization that is led more directly by its members. This critical effort will take additional time, personnel, and resources. To fill this gap, MVG will 1) develop deep, sustainable relationships with our members, 2) build a board that understands and supports this new strategy, and 3) create strategic alliances with other partner organizations to increase the impact of our work.
What did you or your project learn this season that might be useful to others as well?
Building a genuinely community-driven food justice organization that meets the daily needs of our members is hard but critical work. We see the need for creating a broader network of aligned organizations that support each other's is vital - an ecosystem of interdependence organizations for community change. We hope to connect with partner organizations shortly to begin this conversation.