December Toolshed: Tips for Garden Leaders

Rejuvenatecover photo

Your December tip: Community and school gardens can be demanding efforts and the nature of many who are involved in their coordination is to give, give, and then give some more. As a garden leader, you do the work because you see the need and you’re passionate about gardens, fresh food, and your community. Your efforts are an essential part of what keeps your garden alive and growing, but what is it that keeps you going in a leadership role? Below are a few ideas (with some strong encouragement) for taking time this wintery season to rejuvenate for another season to come.

  • Celebrate! You did it! Another group of gardeners have had the opportunity to learn and grow gardens because of your work—don’t be too shy to give yourself a pat on the back.
  • Take a deep breath. If you haven’t inhaled since last spring, go ahead and breathe deeply. Take some time away from garden-related work to refresh. It’s December—the garden gets a chance to rest, so should you! Treat yourself to something relaxing.
  • Re-connect to your passions. What is it that keeps you buoyed in your work as a garden leader? Why did you get involved in the first place? Consider spending some time with a journal or talking with a friend—taking the time to reflect can be a helpful way to renew your spirit.
  • Pay attention to balance and pace. Once you return to garden planning mode remember that you don’t have to do it all at once. Think about what is most important, make priorities, and set aside the extra work—there’s always the following year!
  • Seek out support. As you’re looking toward another year at the garden, pay attention not just to what’s going to get done, but who’s going to do it. Build your support network first before your take on more work than you can handle on your own. Think about who you want to invite to join your efforts this coming year.
  • Connect with other garden leaders. Reaching out to your garden leader comrades can be a way to share your passion, commiserate over common issues, help you problem-solve, and inspire new ideas. VCGN helps connect garden leaders with these things in mind through our regional Grow It! workshops (https://vcgn.org/what-we-do/growit/), and other workshops, gatherings and touch points for networking.
  • “The more you know…” Enrich your passion and your knowledge by being a student for a bit. Keep an eye out for fun workshops and other skills-building opportunities to grow your garden knowledge as build your leadership skills. Join us for the NOFA-VT Winter Conference and VCGN’s Community & School Garden Track. More info at: https://vcgn.org/what-we-do/winterconference/.