Brooklyn Gardeners Respond to Onerous Open Hours Mandate

This over the wire, posted by my good friend Jon Crow:

At Saturday’s Brooklyn Community Gardeners Coalition (BCGC)
meeting, we discussed the new Parks/GreenThumb mandate
increasing open hours from 10 to 20 hours. We broke down the
issue into the following categories and began listing our
thoughts and concerns.

PLEASE, read through these lists, then email back and
ADD YOUR THOUGHTS AND CONCERNS!!!

The final list will be provided to the NYCCGC to be included in
a joint letter from the combined city-wide garden coalitions.

**************************************

REASONS FOR INCREASING OPEN HOURS…

1) Public access
2) Attract potential new members
2) More opportunity to interact with community
4) End perception that gardens are private

WHAT MAKES INCREASING OPEN HOURS DIFFICULT…

1) Gardens exist in diverse communities with diverse needs and concerns
2) Most gardens can’t just be left unattended due to crime and safety issues (safety of
volunteers, theft of crops and tools…)
3) Staffing volunteers is a job in itself that takes time, skills and energy
4) Volunteers not available for a variety of reasons (age, health, employment, sense of
safety, weather, available daylight…)
5) Small gardens have less members available to staff open hours

WHAT GARDENERS COULD DO…

1) Make the garden more inviting (benches, chairs, picnic tables, gazebos…)
2) Plan more community activities (Potlucks, workshops, children’s events…)
3) Better inform the public of the volunteer opportunities available in each garden
4) Better display garden open hours
5) Better display how to become a new member
6) Post calendar of events
7) Place signboards on sidewalk welcoming visitors into the garden during open hours
8) Make community connections (schools, churches, community boards…)
9) Seek out letters of support

WHAT PARKS / GREENTHUMB COULD DO…

1) Recognize what makes Gardens different than Parks (mission, purpose, usage…)
2) Publicly appreciate the hard work of UNPAID Garden volunteers
3) Provide necessary training (community organizing, membership development,
leadership training…)
4) Educate the public that the gardens exist and that they’re for all the community to enjoy
(outreach campaign)
5) Promote the benefits of community gardening in our neighborhoods (promotional
campaigns, maps of gardens…)
6) Publicize community garden activities (Publicity campaign… ads, web notices, eblasts,
media campaign…
7) Create an annual Community Garden Day to promote awareness, membership,
visibility…
8) Increase event sponsorship, funding and assistance
9) Assist gardens in need by providing paid staffing or funding for staffing
10) Increase staffing for GreenThumb to provide increased outreach to gardens and their
communities
11) Provide credit for unposted open hours including winter maintenance, organizational
time…

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