Community Gardens all over Phoenix

[ This proposal is in draft status.  It will be updated and organized better as we develop the plan.  If you have any input, please join our focus group in order to help move the project along!  ]

As part of our initiative to provide value to our community by building a network of 50,000 members to serve the Greater Phoenix Area, we intend to build community gardens all across Phoenix with some of the following goals in mind:

  • Grow food on land that is otherwise being unused.
  • Produce $1 million dollars worth of food per year in these gardens.
  • Provide fresh, naturally grown produce in various ways to the local community.  We will consider food banks, farmers markets, CSA shares and many other methods for distributing the food we produce.
  • Build community by inviting people in the local community to volunteer or to plant their own plot.

Property Prospects:

  • 22nd St, 85022:  There are a number of properties owned by an LLC connected with Dream City Church on 22nd St north of Sweetwater in Phoenix.
  • There is an additional property at 13408 N. 22nd St that is currently owned by a private owner (which appears possibly to be a result of some estate.)   This property is used as parking and occasional/seasonal storage for the furniture store on Cave Creek Rd.  If the owner is amenable, we could make use of potentially half of the property, or more.
  • Identify other properties.

Collaboration Opportunities:

  • Arizona Community Land Trust (over 100 people)
  • Dream City Church (1000’s of people)
  • Freedoms Phoenix / AZ Liberty Revolution Meetup (1000’s of people, 1700 on the Meetup, alone)
  • Labor with Your Neighbor Facebook Group. (Dozens of people)
  • AZ Survivalism Meetup (over 200 people)
  • TODO: Identify more collaboration opportunities.

Workflow:

  1. Identify property and it’s owner.  Research the property for suitability to the project.
  2. Make first contact.
  3. Discuss win-win scenarios with the owner.
  4. Negotiate and sign a lease or similar contract with the owner.
  5. Promote the property as a community garden and CSA.
  6. Attract managers (up to 8 per garden) and volunteers.
  7. Assemble project plan for garden buildout.
  8. Gather resources and donations.
  9. Install stationary cameras if possible for security and for documentation purposes (media).
  10. Organize and complete the proposed buildout.
  11. Staff each garden daily by one manager for at least one hour to perform daily routines.  Use volunteers when possible to help with this.
  12. Establish relationships with local churches, charities and food banks in order to get excess food produced into the hands of people who need it.
  13. Establish CSA roster and donation schedule to fund the garden’s expenses.  Consider Gofundme if needed.
  14. Produce positive, educational and entertaining videos to promote the project and the goals that it supports.
  15. Repeat this process with other properties.

Fundamentals:

Each garden should be managed by a team of up to 8 people who are able to use teamwork in order to achieve necessary objectives throughout the week.

Managers of the gardens are entitled to some of the food from the gardens as payment for their time.

Each manager should be expected to know or be able to learn, develop and share best practices for managing the garden.  This includes writing reports and updating a blog with shared experiences and helpful tips.

The garden may be provided a budget that is gathered from donations.  Donations could come in the form of money, supplies, man-hours, and more.

A partnership with a nonprofit may help us achieve funding goals by being able to receive tax deductible donations through their entity and working in partnership with them to help them achieve their goals.

A director may be hired to execute this plan if resources allow for it.

We prefer to keep our gardens noncommercial at this time, so we will accept only donations to fund the operations.

Garden Hours (Like professor’s office hours) will be open meetings held at each garden (at least) weekly.  The purpose of the open meetings will be to:

  • Educate the community about healthy eating through local gardening
  • Explain the dangers of processed and synthetically grown foods.
  • Provide something fun for kids to do to help them reconnect with nature and learn about farming and animal raising.
  • In support of the above, we hope to keep some petting friendly animals as well as chickens and/or Japanese quail to attract families to see the animals while learning about farming and animal husbandry.
  • Offer a convenient, regular time for patrons to pick up their CSA bins.

We intend to automate watering with solar powered computer controlled irrigation with moisture sensors in order to minimize human work as well as maximize energy and water efficiency.  This can be done with Raspberry Pi and inexpensive relay boards sold for this purpose.

All power consumed will be generated on the property or brought in. At least initially, the gardens will not have grid power (minimizes costs)

Offer people small inexpensive portable compost bins (for donation) with instructions so that they can help us build up our soil by donating their home scraps to our cause.

Offer people in the community a place to plant their own plot for some donation of resources, food, TBD and negotiated on a case by case basis.

Use local news media, radio, as well as do interviews with podcasters and internet radio as public relations.

Produce T-Shirts, and other tools and memorabilia to promote the projects and it’s goals as well as raise resources to fund the project.

Maintain a blog, youtube channel, podcast or all of the above as a conduit to connecting with the public directly.

In the case of the 22nd St properties:

Make good use of the church and school traffic by installing a sign in front of our gardens with our contact information and hours for our (semi) regular Garden Hours.

Build onsite compost bins out of used shipping pallets to minimize cost.  Encourage people to bring us their unfinished compost weekly when they come to church or drop their kids at school.

Look into installing fencing, no tresspassing signs and lock and key access as a way of limiting any liability to the land owner.

 

 

 

 

We will