So You Want To … Start A Community Garden

Dig it: You’ll need some help

Our expert—Christie Wahlert Koester—started Keystone-Monon Community Garden, a 20-bed space managed by 60 neighborhood volunteers. Here, her advice:

  1. Gather your neighbors. It’s not called a community garden for nothing. What does the  neighborhood want? Is anyone even interested?
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Start shoveling. Volunteer groups can help the work go much faster. United Way, Lilly, and the Pacers do citywide group volunteer days.
  6. We’ve received seeds from Whole Foods Market, Plantation Products, and Seed Savers Exchange, and free mulch from tree-service companies.