Bring in Help & Resources

Community Connections to Leverage Equipment, Supplies and Labor

When it comes to a school garden one should not be afraid to ask for help. Making connections within the school, neighborhood, and local businesses is an important part of a successful garden. Establishing connections within the community will garnish support and strengthen your garden project.

Making requests for help in the garden, whether it is weeding or watering, is often necessary. Many people are very enthusiastic about volunteering, sometimes even on a regular basis. You may have numerous people approach you asking how they can become involved and it is important to be organized in dealing with these requests. Start an e-mail list to notify people of workdays. Another way to take advantage of volunteers is to have a set day of the week or month that people can show up to lend a hand. Parents are an obvious group to solicit help from, but many other people may want to get involved. Retired people in the neighborhood, people without yards, and college students are other groups that can be tapped into. Also, some businesses require that their staff volunteer a certain number of hours.


Seed Donations

It is wise to seek seed donations for your garden. Many seed companies donate large amount of last year’s seeds to non-profit organizations and educational garden projects. Make sure to make the request well before the new garden season begins, ideally in late fall.

Retail outlets that sell seeds are discouraged from selling older seeds, but usually have a good deal left over at the end of the year. Approaching these businesses in the late fall will likely result in a charitable donation.  Make sure to formally thank the business and consider sending pictures of the gardens bounty to show what their donation has contributed to. Establishing a good relationship will ensure future donations.


Other Donations

Seeking donations from local businesses is an important part of keeping costs down for a school garden project. Whether it is wood chips for mulch, lumber for a fence, or garden tools for the students, businesses may be willing, perhaps even eager, to donate supplies. It is important that they feel they are getting something in return, though. Make sure to recognize the businesses that have donated to the garden in some way. Larger donations can be accompanied by a plaque with the business’s logo.

For smaller items consider seeking donations from parents and other community members. Make a wish list for items like trowels and gloves. You can post this  list at the school, churches, banks, grocery stores, or other businesses or organizations that are prominent within the community