Our expert—Christie Wahlert Koester—started Keystone-Monon Community Garden, a 20-bed space managed by 60 neighborhood volunteers. Here, her advice:
- Gather your neighbors. It’s not called a community garden for nothing. What does the neighborhood want? Is anyone even interested?
- Establish a vision. A mission statement or manifesto provides guidance for everything you do and a way to focus limited resources toward a common purpose.
- Explore land options. This step may take the longest. Vacant lots, parks, churches, private land—any unused or underused space is an option. Consider access, parking, and, most important, water.
- Develop your proposal. We raised more than $3,000 through donations, grants, and other fundraisers before we even began building. Don’t forget general public liability insurance.
- Start shoveling. Volunteer groups can help the work go much faster. United Way, Lilly, and the Pacers do citywide group volunteer days.
- We’ve received seeds from Whole Foods Market, Plantation Products, and Seed Savers Exchange, and free mulch from tree-service companies.