Community garden leaders could glean inspiration from new workshop

MSU Extension workshop gives leaders ways to simplify organizing and maintaining community gardens.

MSU Extension will host a community garden workshopMichigan State University Extension will host “Starting a Community Vegetable Garden: Community Garden Leadership Training” from 6 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 21 at Lake Michigan College in South Haven, Mich.

Neighborhood groups, community organizations, educators, religious and nonprofit volunteers can come and learn about all of the essentials of coordinating a successful community garden. The workshop would be appropriate for those interested in school and institutional gardens as well.

Local foods mean more than simply having access to locally grown foods.  It also includes being able to grow your own vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers. Alternately, some might wish to donate what they grow to food pantries, others to supplement their families’ food budget, or as a way to earn a few extra dollars. The workshop will provide the tools that can help the garden leader to integrate all of these goals into a coherent whole.

Community gardens beautify neighborhoods and bring neighbors closer together. They are a way for people who do not have land or space for a garden of their own or to provide space for organizations to grow fresh food to supplement their needs. The American Community Gardening Association (ACGA) suggests that community gardens are three- to five-times more productive than traditional rural gardening.

The workshop will help garden leaders learn proven methods and techniques that can simplify organizing and sustaining a community garden. Also discussed will be ways to avoid conflict and methods for engaging and inspiring higher levels of participation. The workshop is based on ACGA's Growing Communities curriculum and will be taught by an MSU Extension educator. The cost of the workshop is $25.

To register, visit the workshop’s registration page: Garden Leader 2013. For questions, email MSU Extension educator Beth Clawson or call 269-657-8213.

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