Here's a run-down of some of the changes that have occurred this season:
1) The implementation of our "Garden Mentor" program: Last year, Chad was the lone-ranger traveling like a crazy man by bike to each of our host gardens on a weekly basis. Because obviously this limited us to how many gardens we could take on, (not to mention inevitable burnout!) this year we designed and implemented our Garden Mentor program, and accepted applications from seasoned gardeners who wanted to take one garden under their wing. We're about a month in to our experiment with this new arrangement, and so far it seems to be going swimmingly! If this proves to be efficacious, we are unlimited in the number of gardens we can take on each year! Not only that, but it provides a wonderful opportunity for seasoned gardeners to become leaders within the community and to pass on their wisdom and gardening knowledge to the next generation of green thumbs.
2) Application process for our Host Giving Gardens: Along with our Garden Mentor Program, this is the first year that we required applications to be one of our Urban Foods Outreach host gardens. Up til now, we have said yes to pretty much anyone who wanted to host one of our gardens. While this was fine, as we're expanding we realized that as we moved forward and gained in popularity with the amount of homes that wanted to work with us, we really wanted to make sure that our garden hosts shared our vision and mission, and shared our enthusiasm for making their garden not only something that would benefit their household, but somehow the community at large. Through the application process which included a board visit to each garden before we started, we began the season with unprecedented excitement for the possibilities that could unfold with each garden we accepted.
3) Collaboration with CSU nutrition students: In coordination with one of our newest board members, Garry Auld, who is a professor at CSU in the nutrition department, we have a team of students working to improve and stabilize our Gleam Team Program as part of a class project. Each year, because of the efforts, time, and volunteer power that it takes to effectively run this program, it seems to not get the attention that it needs, and therefore food that could be going into the mouths of FC residents ends up rotting in fields or otherwise not reaching the best destination of a hungry mouth. Furthermore, as the team will be working even closer than before with the top leadership at our local food bank, we are even more confident that our Glean Team will grow and mature into something even bigger and more successful than our sites originally intended.
4) Collaboration with Global Natural Health Alliance: This is our newest effort, and just landed in our laps spontaneously and unexpectedly last month as the founders showed up at our board meeting, presented to us what they're up to, and asked if we'd like to work together. We showed our resounding YES! by having a group of our leadership show up at their Jail House Garden build at a Lakota Indian Reservation last weekend. As there are 2 other blogs which give more information about this program, I will direct you to those blogs for more details!
Phyoo! Along with all these fledgling programs, we are continuing our Garden Time program at the Remington House, as well as our other projects, programs, and gardens from the past. If you're interested and haven't come and checked us out, please check our Calendar of Events and just show up at the ones that look interesting...we'll be happy to see you there!