August Toolshed: Tips for Garden Leaders

YouthTourGuide-HCYFA Special Invitation

While your garden is still in its full glory, send a special invite to neighbors, volunteers, teachers, parents, donors, local officials and other current or potential stakeholders to come see your garden at its best.  This is a great way to thank the people who have made contributions and inspire new partnerships and involvement.

  • Share your story with donors, sponsors, and local officials. These people can play a crucial role in the financial and political support of your garden, and when informed about your project can also serve as advocates for your cause.  Ask one or more of your dedicated gardeners to lead a garden tour (youth, if you’re working with a youth or school garden).  Make a personal connection by sharing stories from your garden—e.g. Brianna’s new love for vegetables; Will and Tiana’s unlikely friendship.  Crafting and knowing your garden’s stories can be a powerful tool—here are a few resources to help you get started.
  • Inspire involvement with a garden open house. Ask current gardeners to be present to answer questions and highlight special projects.  One great way to arrange this is with a “garden passport.”  Set up gardeners in different parts of the garden with fresh tastings, demonstrations, and engaging activities.  Participants take themselves on a self-guided tour through the garden, visiting the stations and filling their passport with stamps from each.
  • Provide professional development for teachers if you’re coordinating a school garden. Get the garden on the schedule for teacher in-service days. Host time in the garden with teachers, including orientation to the space and sample lessons and activities for using the garden with students.  Even teaching some garden basics will go a long way to encourage involvement from hesitant teachers, giving them the tools they need to feel confident in the garden setting.  If you’re looking for lessons to demonstrate and share there is a wealth of resources online.  Here are some of our favorites: https://vcgn.org/garden-organizer-toolkit/learning-in-the-garden/.
  • Say thank you to your volunteers, partners, donors and garden neighbors with an invitation to a garden party. Share food, celebrate together, and personally recognize people for their contributions.  Send people home with something colorful from the garden.  For example: Host a tea party at your garden and send home gifts of dried herb tea bundles, so that volunteers and donors can continue to enjoy a “taste” of your garden!