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2010Community Gardens         Miranda Baines         Elsabe Dixon         Douglas Lewis         YiZhen Liu         Matthew...
Community Gardens |2CONTENTSExecutive Summary................................................................................
Community Gardens |3   Financial Proposal ...................................................................................
Community Gardens |4EXECUTIVE SUMMARYThe urban agriculture movement is blossoming with community gardens sprouting up acro...
Community Gardens |5and increase the property value in Danville. The region has the potential, the resources, and thecommu...
Community Gardens |6more outlets for the public to work together for development in the region. A movement towardscommunit...
Community Gardens |7identifying what plants grow best in this region to preparing soil for planting, master gardeners will...
Community Gardens |8A community garden is not a solitary entity, but rather a piece of the larger puzzle to make Danvilleh...
Community Gardens |9Locally grown fruits and vegetables are significantly healthier than produce shipped in from elsewhere...
C o m m u n i t y G a r d e n s | 10concept that has particular meaning in the Danville area, once an agricultural hub for...
C o m m u n i t y G a r d e n s | 11Donna Armstrong of the University of Albany studied the impact of community gardens on...
C o m m u n i t y G a r d e n s | 12BARRIERSPUBLIC INTERESTPerhaps the most important factor in maintaining a functioning ...
C o m m u n i t y G a r d e n s | 13must then obtain permissions to sites or find land donations locally. Often, a city un...
C o m m u n i t y G a r d e n s | 14garden is expanding every year, Powell suggests beginning on a much smaller scale. Thi...
C o m m u n i t y G a r d e n s | 15A variety of models and structures for community gardens have been successful througho...
C o m m u n i t y G a r d e n s | 16            Build community support and interest            Land should be donated o...
C o m m u n i t y G a r d e n s | 17participate in community gardening. Mark Rembold, a horticulture instructor at Piedmon...
C o m m u n i t y G a r d e n s | 18APPENDIXSAMPLE SURVEY ON COMMUNITY GARDENING1. Would you be interested in being involv...
C o m m u n i t y G a r d e n s | 19The greening of Detroit. 2010 Available from http://www.greeningofdetroit.com/.America...
C o m m u n i t y G a r d e n s | 20    2010.    http://www.winchesternewsgazette.com/articles/2010/03/30/news/doc4bb0adfb...
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Community Gardens - Danville Regional Foundation

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Transcript of "Community Gardens - Danville Regional Foundation"

  1. 1. 2010Community Gardens Miranda Baines Elsabe Dixon Douglas Lewis YiZhen Liu Matthew MacFarland Loren Pritchett Reginald Singletary Samanthe Tiver July 30, 2010
  2. 2. Community Gardens |2CONTENTSExecutive Summary....................................................................................................................................... 4 Need .......................................................................................................................................................... 4 Opportunity............................................................................................................................................... 4 Recommendations and Impact ................................................................................................................. 4Introduction .................................................................................................................................................. 5Opportunity................................................................................................................................................... 6 Virginia Tech Community Garden Working Group ................................................................................... 6 Danville Farmer’s Market.......................................................................................................................... 6 Danville Master Gardener Association ..................................................................................................... 6 Schools ...................................................................................................................................................... 7 Church Leaders ......................................................................................................................................... 7 Juvenile Detention Center ........................................................................................................................ 7 Supplemental Existing Programs .............................................................................................................. 7Impacts.......................................................................................................................................................... 8 Economic Benefits..................................................................................................................................... 8 Health Benefits.......................................................................................................................................... 8 Education Benefits .................................................................................................................................... 9 Social Capital and Psychosocial Benefits................................................................................................. 10 Social Justice Impacts.............................................................................................................................. 11 Leadership Development ........................................................................................................................ 11Barriers ........................................................................................................................................................ 12 Public interest ......................................................................................................................................... 12 Crime ....................................................................................................................................................... 12 Long-term Site Tenure ............................................................................................................................ 12 Soil Quality .............................................................................................................................................. 13Recommendations for Execution ................................................................................................................ 13 Roanoke, Virginia .................................................................................................................................... 13 Lynchburg, Virginia ................................................................................................................................. 14 Detroit, Michigan .................................................................................................................................... 14 Winchester, Indiana ................................................................................................................................ 14 Recommendations .................................................................................................................................. 14Next Steps ................................................................................................................................................... 15
  3. 3. Community Gardens |3 Financial Proposal ................................................................................................................................... 15 Planning .................................................................................................................................................. 16 Partnerships ........................................................................................................................................ 16 Regional collaboration ........................................................................................................................ 16 Community survey .............................................................................................................................. 16 Construction............................................................................................................................................ 17 Outreach ................................................................................................................................................. 17Conclusion ................................................................................................................................................... 17Appendix ..................................................................................................................................................... 18 Sample Survey on Community Gardening .............................................................................................. 18References .................................................................................................................................................. 18
  4. 4. Community Gardens |4EXECUTIVE SUMMARYThe urban agriculture movement is blossoming with community gardens sprouting up across Virginiaand the United States. These gardens provide an avenue for enhancing community unity and health,generating social capital, fostering pride, and improving the aesthetic quality of neighborhoods. In thisreport, we identified the benefits and determined the feasibility of starting community gardens in theDanville region. Through partnerships we aim to develop a community garden program that will providevaluable benefits to the region.NEEDResidents of the Danville region all want to be part of a community; however, they lack sufficient outletsfor community action. Along with more interactive volunteer opportunities, the region needs greatereconomic support and its residents need better health. The closing of Dan River Mills had a majorimpact on the region’s economy, causing Danville, Pittsylvania County and Caswell County to sufferunemployment rates above ten percent. The region has a 32.2 percent obesity rate, an increase fromthe past few years. We see community gardens as a way to alleviate these issues.OPPORTUNITYThe area is abundant with the people and organizations needed to make community gardens asuccessful reality. The Danville Farmers Market, Master Gardeners of Danville, and several schools andchurches have offered to help in this endeavor for community engagement. A community gardenprogram will fit well with currently existing health initiatives in the area, such as Get Fit Danville andVirginia Cooperative Extension Family Nutrition Program, which will achieve the goals of communityparticipation and improving the overall health of the region.RECOMMENDATIONS AND IMPACTModels for beginning such projects exist, and despite Danville’s unique character, many of those modelsprovide insight applicable to this community. We recommend the Danville Regional Foundation take aleading role in creating community gardens in the city and region by starting the conversation with thecommunity and supporting those leaders who have already voiced interest or have offered theirassistance. The next step is to survey the community members and form partnerships with localorganizations to market the program. Once leaders and participants have been identified, the garden’ssize and structure must be determined based on availability of land, number of interested parties, andresources of community partners. As the community garden program continues, we will encourage thegardens to support and donate surplus food to local food banks for low-income families. The programmay also extend and provide the community with educational cooking classes on a periodic basis.Community gardens can offer multiple benefits to the region that are in line with the values of theDanville Regional Foundation. Community gardens have the power to instill community pride andpromote greater community involvement and leadership, provide fresh food to low-income households,
  5. 5. Community Gardens |5and increase the property value in Danville. The region has the potential, the resources, and thecommunity necessary to gain these benefits from a community garden program.INTRODUCTIONFrom Los Angeles to Detroit to Washington D.C., the urban agriculture movement is growing. In citiesand towns, citizens have recognized the need for ready access to healthier food and have taken theinitiative to start neighborhood gardens that they themselves work and harvest. These gardens vary insize; some feed only a few families and others are productive enough to send hundreds of pounds ofproduce to local food banks. Other areas in Virginia have already joined this movement; approximately16 community gardens and urban farms are scattered throughout the state from Arlington to Galax. Byjoining a trend that has gained traction in recent years, the Danville area could position itself at theforefront of a movement of national interest. There is a real need for community gardens in the City ofDanville, and the city has the resources, potential, and a deep-rooted love of community to make thema reality.Beyond community empowerment, community gardens will address health concerns in the area.According to the Danville Regional Foundation 2009 Regional Report Card, the area progressed in anumber of health areas but still demonstrated room for improvement. These problems include a rise inobesity (32.3 percent), heart disease-related death (266.4 per 100,000), and cancer incidence rate (199per 100,000). The nutrients and minerals in fresh produce are proven to combat these specific healthproblems, making those nutrients—and the produce in which they are found—essential to residents ofthe Danville area. Community gardens provide direct access to this kind of food, which retains much ofthe nutrients lost by long-term packaging and storing. Studies have shown that produce travels anaverage of about 1,500 miles en route from the farm to the market; over the course of this travel,produce that was at one time fresh and at peak nutritional value has deteriorated. If Danville and thesurrounding region are to combat the rising incidence of health problems attributed to poor diet, thatdiet must be improved. Community gardens are one of the simplest and most direct ways of givingindividuals and families access to food that is grown in a safer way, retains more nutritional value, andfacilitates knowledge of implementing a healthy diet.Along with the area’s dietary concerns, socioeconomic facts in the Danville area establish a need forinvestment in community garden projects. In 2009, Danville suffered an unemployment rate of 12.6percent; Pittsylvania County, 10.2 percent; and Caswell County, 12.4 percent. The closing of Dan RiverMills had a major impact on the region’s economy and increased the risk of hunger in the region. Lessquantifiable but arguably more important, the loss of Dan River Mills and other large employers has ledto a kind of pessimism. In a 2009 University of Virginia Social Capital Survey, 93.8 percent of Danvilleregion respondents said they "felt at home where [they lived]" and 91 percent said that being a part ofthe community is either “somewhat important” or “very important” to them. Despite these positiveresponses, the same survey found that 68.2 percent of people in Danville believe their children mustleave the region to have a better future.1 The survey also found that 56.7 percent of respondentsvolunteered only five hours or less a month.2 A loyal community exists in Danville, but there must be
  6. 6. Community Gardens |6more outlets for the public to work together for development in the region. A movement towardscommunity gardens could be a force for progress across multiple social sectors: health, education, socialjustice, and community interaction.OPPORTUNITYSeveral community members and organizations have expressed interest in starting community gardenprojects in the Danville area. By partnering with these groups, the Foundation will be able to establish abasis for both the startup and long-term maintenance of a community garden in the Danville region.VIRGINIA TECH COMMUNITY GARDEN WORKING GROUPStudents and professors from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University’s department of HumanNutrition, Foods, and Exercise are conducting community-based, participatory research on theinfluences of obesity in the Dan River region. The DRF and Get Fit Danville collaborate to partner withcommunity members to identify and address the causes of obesity in the region. The coalition brokeinto several subcommittees, including a working group on community gardens. This organizationincludes a variety of perspectives and interested parties but could benefit from further partnerships andexpertise.DANVILLE FARMER’S MARKETThe Danville Farmers Market serves as a provider of fresh produce, baked goods, and other locally madeitems. Located at the Crossing at the Dan, the market draws hundreds to its booths every Saturdaybetween the months of May and October. Seeing the market as an ideal location for a communitygarden, Jacob McCann, market manager, has expressed an interest in taking a leadership position insuch a project. While location and available land is not a problem, McCann has been unable to securefunding. Though he was denied a national grant to start a garden, he is now planning for a start-upwithin the next two years. He intends on starting a small garden and expanding as interest and fundinggrows. McCann would also be willing to set up a station at the market for families to sell extra producefrom their plots. Having available land and a relationship with Danville’s Parks and Recreation, JacobMcCann and the Farmers Market will serve as ideal partners in establishing a community garden.DANVILLE MASTER GARDENER ASSOCIATIONWhile partnering with groups to secure an ideal location is important, having a group of knowledgeablegardeners will ensure successful management of a community garden. Dan Goble, president of DanvilleMaster Gardener Association (DMGA), said that there is a need for a community garden in this area andwould like to participate in the development of one. He and other master gardeners in Danville havereceived the proper training to both start and maintain gardens. Their knowledge will prove helpful ineducating people around the city who are interested in participating in the community garden. From
  7. 7. Community Gardens |7identifying what plants grow best in this region to preparing soil for planting, master gardeners willprovide a wealth of useful knowledge.SCHOOLSCurrently, members of DMGA are working with students at Glenwood Elementary School. Teachers atthe school have enlisted the help of master gardeners to give students a hands-on experience ingardening—an opportunity that will assist in preparation for Virginia’s Standards of Learning (SOLs). Asmaster gardeners continue their interaction with school-aged children, the Foundation could collaboratewith Danville Public Schools and other academic institutions to enlist additional manpower for thecommunity garden. In addition to Glenwood Elementary School, there are several schools that may bepotential partners. Students at E.A. Gibson Middle School, a magnet school for mathematics andscience, enjoyed a greenhouse behind the facility until budget cuts forced its end. Angel McKinney,former coordinator of the greenhouse, said that the school may be interested in participating in acommunity garden if there was funding available. Students at George Washington High Schoolparticipate in the Green Club and both Averett University and Danville Community College haveprograms dealing with Environmental Science. There is potential to partner with these schools thatshow an interest in environmental initiatives and see the advantages of hands-on learning throughworking in a community garden. Not only will partnerships with local schools give the garden a largevolunteer pool—it will also instill the importance of community and benefits of gardening in children.CHURCH LEADERSReverend Delaware Clark, pastor of Camp Grove Baptist Church, said involving the youth in communityinitiatives will help sustain the idea of community engagement. Clark has been farming since 1976 andwants to start a community garden for the neighborhood surrounding his church. He has had the ideaon the church’s agenda for two years and sees a large expression of interest. The Rev. Clark would like tobe involved in a project to start a community garden in the City of Danville in order to provide freshproduce to those who may not be able to buy them. He said outreach to other churches is key, as theyare typically the center of most communities.JUVENILE DETENTION CENTERThe W. W. Moore, Jr. Detention Center is home to the Green Thumb Nursery. The nursery is part of thePost Dispositional Horticulture Program to provide therapy for the residents, teaching them to care foranother living thing. The nursery has a commercial sized green house, a garden, and an arboretum. Theresidents participate in designing and implementing landscapes. Several times a year the residents hostflower and tree sales to provide funds for the program in upcoming years. The program has receivedseveral awards from across the country and has had over 100 participants. At this time, communitymembers have little to no access to the gardens or working with the residents.SUPPLEMENTAL EXISTING PROGRAMS
  8. 8. Community Gardens |8A community garden is not a solitary entity, but rather a piece of the larger puzzle to make Danvillehealthier. Beverly Vaden with the Virginia Cooperative Extension Family Nutrition Program hosts“Stretching Your Food Dollars,” helping residents learn to make inexpensive healthy meals. Access to acommunity garden could better facilitate healthy choices, making these existing nutrition programs idealcommunity partners.Recently, the DRF funded the Coalition for Health and Wellness in its efforts to establish Get FitDanRiver, a nonprofit providing education and opportunities for better health. A community garden couldhelp Get Fit provide an additional educational component to their clients and increase continuitybetween DRF initiatives. Together these many components can work to improve health in the Danvilleregion.By exploring the interest of local organizations, schools and churches, the Foundation can begin to starta conversation about community gardens in the Danville area. This conversation will lead to thepartnership and action of interested parties.IMPACTSECONOMIC BENEFITSStudies have been conducted examining the impact of community gardens on urban areas that havesuffered from economic downturns. One area of New York City, Loisaida, was hard-hit by the financialcrisis of the 1970’s resulting in foreclosures and abandoned buildings—some of Danville’s problems aswell. Establishing a large shared space in the form of a community garden alleviated some of the areaproblems, such as violent crime and drug activity. The gardens transformed vacant junk-laden spacesinto attractive, safe places that foster social interaction among community members. They also offeredyoung people who had a tendency to gravitate toward drug use and other adverse activities analternative, educational option. The result was a more attractive, more socially cohesive, well-educatedcommunity. Although this New York area cannot be directly compared to Danville, the downturn of theeconomy following the closure of Dan River Mills resulted in some of the same kinds of problems thatLoisaida faced, among them poverty, unemployment, and property foreclosures. For these reasons,Danville may experience some of the same economic benefits from community gardening that Loisaidaexperienced.Additionally, the cost to fund a community garden is significantly less than the cost of a city-developedpark. A 1992 study demonstrated that community gardens are labor intensive, with labor done bycommunity members representing 80 percent of the total investment in the garden project. Studieshave also shown that gardens increase property values in their vicinity. It was estimated that theaverage garden increased the city tax revenue in Milwaukee by $9,000.HEALTH BENEFITS
  9. 9. Community Gardens |9Locally grown fruits and vegetables are significantly healthier than produce shipped in from elsewhere.Local farmers, having far fewer miles to travel to market, often choose to grow varieties that allow forbetter taste and nutritional value, instead of varieties that can better withstand the grueling conditionsof cross-country travel. Community gardens further reduce the travel time to consumers, giving theproduce a greater chance to retain nutrients and minerals. Community garden practices are generallyhealthier for the consumers, as well; gardens are often planted with organic methods, using integratedpest control instead of the toxic pesticides common in large-scale agriculture.The health benefits of community gardens are not reserved for those who consume the fresh fruits andvegetables, though—all who participate in the planting and harvesting of the produce engage in calorie-burning physical activity. The United States Department of Agriculture 2005 Dietary Guidelines forAmericans set out strategies for reducing the impact of specific health issues and the levels of intensityof physical activity for combating certain health problems. To “reduce the risk of chronic disease”—cancer and heart disease, as well as other obesity-related problems—the USDA notes that moderate, orabove-normal, physical activity is best. Such activity burns calories at a rate of 210 to 420 calories anhour, the limits within which light gardening falls. Half an hour of gardening could burn as many asabout 250 calories. The act of gardening itself, along with the consumption of the produce grown,provides an excellent route to better health that anyone—child, adult, or senior—can travel.EDUCATION BENEFITSIn addition to addressing health issues that affect the community as a whole, community gardens canfoster an understanding of gardening and its benefits in the youth of the area. Glenwood ElementarySchool, which specializes in environmental studies, has planted a moderate-sized garden behind theschool’s main building. Already abloom with an array of vegetables—tomatoes, cucumbers, raspberries,among others—the garden will yield produce to be sold or used in the school’s cafeteria, allowing thestudents to make a direct connection between their labors outside in the garden and what’s on theplate in front of them, a connection adults often take for granted. Ramona Booker, Physical Educationteacher at the elementary school, works with custodial staff and Danville’s Master Gardeners to managethe student garden, a project that incorporates Virginia’s standards of learning (SOLs) while connectingthe students with their community.By promoting student participation in a garden, teachers at Glenwood add a level of direct involvementthat reinforces the information they teach in the classroom. From the process of a seed becoming aplant to photosynthesis, the garden serves as a visual aid to supplement textbook learning. Gardeningcan work in tandem with every major subject in the primary school curriculum, from math and scienceto language and visual arts. School administrators find this type of integrated learning beneficial to boththe children and the surrounding community. At harvest time, the children, teachers, and a DanvilleMaster Gardener pick the produce, fostering a sense of community in all involved.By learning from and working with an older generation of residents who have a history of agriculturalactivity, children gain a tangible connection with the history of the community through its land, a
  10. 10. C o m m u n i t y G a r d e n s | 10concept that has particular meaning in the Danville area, once an agricultural hub for tobacco and otherproduce. Though on a much smaller scale, the students still gain a valuable, personal connection withthe kind of work their parents and grandparents may have done, forging a tie to family and state history.Additionally, children who garden experience a connection with the natural world that they oftentimesoverlook.Despite the abundance of natural beauty in the area, some children in southside Virginia suffer adeficiency in the exploration and understanding of nature. Having children take ownership of studentgardens provides a chance to learn more about their natural surroundings. By engaging the children atan early age, teachers begin to expose ideas of sustainability, food chains, energy cycles, and the wayshuman action impacts the environment—and the students learn that such action is not limited todestructive or negative results. Environmental education—both academic and personal—will instill inthe children a respect for nature that they will carry with them into adulthood.SOCIAL CAPITAL AND PSYCHOSOCIAL BENEFITSBeginning a community garden may lead to an increase in social capital by promoting cultural diversityand dissipating language barriers in the region. The demographics of Danville consist of a nearly equalwhite and black American population with a very small number of Hispanic residents whereas whiteAmericans are overwhelmingly the majority population in Pittsylvania and Caswell counties. A 1992study of San Jose, California’s Community and Culture Heritage Gardens found that the gardensprovided an outlet for preservation of heritage by giving people the opportunity to plant the foods thatwere closely associated with their particular culture. Maintaining a garden would involve everyoneworking together, forging new relationships among participants of different cultural and socioeconomicbackgrounds.Becky Wales, director of God’s Storehouse in Danville, said a community garden would provide anopportunity for the community as a whole to learn and work together. She noted that many communitymembers are unable to plant gardens, especially those who live in apartments and don’t have their ownyards. Wales said a strong location for a community garden would be near public housing. Kathy Milam,a member of the Garden Club of Danville, also believes a community garden would increase socialinteraction. She pointed out that several garden clubs in the area could lend their expertise to planningthe gardens and teaching residents how to maintain the gardens.Milam, also a grant writer for Danville-Pittsylvania Community Services, recently wrote a $500 grant fora community garden at Harmony House, a home on Rison Street for adults with special needs. Milamcalled the community garden a place for fellowship. One of the doctors at Harmony House, Dr. Trost,began the garden thinking it would be a therapeutic outlet for the clients. Mary Katechi, executivedirector of Harmony House, said that eight clients are highly involved in the garden and have benefittedfrom the opportunity to work in it.
  11. 11. C o m m u n i t y G a r d e n s | 11Donna Armstrong of the University of Albany studied the impact of community gardens on communitydevelopment in upstate New York and found that the gardens seemed to strengthen improved socialnetworks. Mark Rembold, horticulture instructor at Piedmont Community College, believes that having acommunity garden will instill a sense of responsibility and pride in community residents. He also thinksthat having a garden to tend will have positive psychosocial effects, like helping depression amongpeople who live alone and senior citizens. According to Rembold, gardening will be therapeutic for thesepeople. Another benefit of a neighborhood garden will be a decrease in drug problems and revitalizationof the area near the garden, said Rembold.Research indicates a positive correlation between gardening and psychological well-being. Past researchreveals a cause and effect relationship between simply viewing a plant and a reduction in bloodpressure, muscle tension, stress, and negative emotions. Further research demonstrated a positivecorrelation between cancer patients’ outlook on life and their participation in restorative activities suchas gardening. Gardening also helps improve community members’ sense of community. Additionally,well-landscaped areas, trees, and opportunities to grow plants were among the most important factorsin neighborhood satisfaction among apartment dwellers.SOCIAL JUSTICE IMPACTSCommunity gardens can improve the health of people originating from a low socioeconomic status(SES). Historically, those in poverty have been deprived of healthy, nutritional foods because of theirinability to afford them. The USDA reports that fresh vegetables and fruits are significantly moreexpensive than canned vegetables and fruits. Moreover, foods higher in fats and oils are even cheaper.Thus, people with a low SES are more likely than those in higher income brackets to purchase unhealthyfood. Becky Wales, the director of Gods Storehouse in Danville, has seen a 60% increase in the numberof families that Gods Storehouse feeds on a weekly basis from 2004-2009. Gods Storehouse currentlyfeeds approximately 600 families per week. Wales said she sees a great need for low-incomepopulations to have access to fresh fruits and vegetables as those foods tend to be more expensive.Moreover, poverty-stricken people are less likely to have health insurance. Community gardens can helpalleviate this snowball of circumstances by providing these populations with fresh vegetables and fruitsfor free or at a low cost.LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENTCreating community gardens can serve as an avenue for leadership development. In a study of thePennsylvania Horticultural Society’s gardening efforts, unlikely leaders emerged by maintaining andmanaging the gardens. Marti Ross Bjornson, a graduate student at Northwestern University, found thatinner-city gardeners acquired necessary life skills while working with their elected officials throughplanting and maintaining community gardens. The research student stated that these once-marginalizedresidents now could access public policy directly through participation and could better understand theprocess of economic development.
  12. 12. C o m m u n i t y G a r d e n s | 12BARRIERSPUBLIC INTERESTPerhaps the most important factor in maintaining a functioning community garden is capturing andkeeping public interest. This can stem from a wide variety of factors, including negative or falseperceptions of the usefulness or viability of community gardening. In almost all cases where communitygardens have failed, lack of support and interest by the local community caused that failure. However,the support and interest in the Danville region seems to be significant enough to avoid this. Still,promotion and community education about the program will need to continue to make it a success.Evidence suggests that community gardens are significantly less successful in rural areas, due to thealready increased availability of usable land and the inconvenience of transportation. If the program isto extend to rural areas, the best option would be to tie it to a voluntary organization such as a church,which would ensure the project’s success among its members while maintaining a support network offriends and neighbors.CRIMEAccording to many reports, another key concern is the problem of theft and vandalism, especially forthose gardens located in an urban and low-income environment where the community lacks productiveinteraction. Garden programs in rural settings, however, rarely encounter theft and vandalism. Anotherconcern—difficulties in management and organization support—arose in a Toronto community gardenstudy. While some gardeners experienced interpersonal conflict, others suffered frustration because oftheir lack of experience in agriculture or gardening. Since first-time gardeners and children will be asignificant part of outreach efforts, this potential hurdle bears significance.These problems have solutions, however: an organized and dedicated committee running the gardenprogram can schedule meetings for the gardeners and pass out newsletters featuring community eventsand gardening techniques. This will encourage the community to grow closer and prevent thepossibilities for miscommunication and conflict between the gardeners. The growing sense ofcommunity will reduce the likelihood of theft and vandalism in the gardens. A Danville gardencommittee would have to seek cooperation from community partners and fully use the existingresources in the region. Brief classes can be offered on the grounds for first time gardeners by MasterGardeners. At the educational level, it will be important to have programs in schools that introduce andadvocate gardening to the youth. After-school programs can also be partnered with to incorporate thecommunity garden into their activities. These programs will help educate and raise gardening awarenessin the community.LONG-TERM SITE TENUREAnother challenge faced by organizers is the insecurity of long-term site tenure. In most cases,community garden programs do not budget for land purchase; a community garden program in Danville
  13. 13. C o m m u n i t y G a r d e n s | 13must then obtain permissions to sites or find land donations locally. Often, a city underestimates thevalue of the gardens and sells the property for development—this happened to the New York Citycommunity gardens in 1999, where more than a hundred community garden sites were threatened tobe auctioned off as city-owned property to gain revenue. Similarly, gardens in upstate New York,Wisconsin, and the City of Toronto face the same threat. To prevent these threats from appearing, it willbe important to establish a good mutual understanding with the city government and obtaingovernmental support for the program. Seeking donations and obtaining permission from privatelandowners may also present solutions to problems of site tenure.SOIL QUALITYA concern of both those who wish to start a community garden and others in the community is thequality of the soil in which plants will be grown. This is an especially pressing concern in the urbanenvironment, where concerns about soil quality are common. The best course of action, both for thesake of reassuring the public and ensuring the health of those using the garden, would be to conduct atest for soil quality. However, these tests can be expensive. If the city has current soil quality dataalready, it would greatly expedite the process.RECOMMENDATIONS FOR EXECUTIONWith diverse community gardens across the country, no clear model for the ideal garden exists.However, several themes do arise among successful gardens. All gardens must start with thoughtfulplanning through reflective conversations of all interested parties and the development of a few keyleaders to take responsibility for the future of the garden. Once leaders and participants have beenidentified, the garden’s size and structure must be determined based on availability of land, number ofinterested parties, and resources of community partners. After completing preliminary interviews,several interested individuals stated that the garden should be walking distance from gardeners andlocated in an area near the neighborhoods you want to revitalize. This convenient location would enablemore individuals to participate by negating the need for transportation. The four following examplesdemonstrate these essential characteristics of successful gardens.ROANOKE, VIRGINIARoanoke boasts a bustling downtown, a thriving farmers market, and a very successful communitygarden near the city center. In 2007, interested and dedicated residents founded the RoanokeCommunity Garden Association (RCGA) and in the spring of 2008, the Association began three pilotgardens in backyards of private residents. These pilot gardens allowed the Association to work out thekinks and get started with a larger community garden later that year. Roanokes community garden has30 plots, each about 300 square feet, according to RCGA founder and manager, Mark Powell. Roanokeleases out the plots to individuals, families, and organizations like the Boys and Girls Club for a yearly feeof $20 as well as a minimum of 4 hours required work in the garden each season. Although Roanokes
  14. 14. C o m m u n i t y G a r d e n s | 14garden is expanding every year, Powell suggests beginning on a much smaller scale. This suggestion isespecially pertinent to Danville, as the population here is only about half of Roanokes.LYNCHBURG, VIRGINIALynchburg has had similar success with their community garden, managed by the non-profit LynchburgGrows. Their downtown half-acre garden, started in 2004, has given much back to the communitythrough youth programs, low-income and disabled resident programs and workshops for the generalcommunity.4 President of Lynchburg Grows, Derek Cunningham, says that while the initial costs ofcreating a community garden were high (about $2 for every square foot of soil and $600 for water), thecommunity garden managed to cut costs by making their own compost soil of leaves and horse manureand installing a drip-line system that reduced their monthly water bill to $300. Lynchburgs success isprimarily due to its relationship with city government, the local farmers market, and volunteers. WhileLynchburg and Roanoke are models of success, a community garden in Danville would necessarily bedifferent. It is important to not simply replicate these models, but to look at some of the problems theyfaced and how these two flourishing community gardens solved them.DETROIT, MICHIGANDetroit is a city in transformation. While the city of Detroit is many times larger than Danville, both citieshave lost their large manufacturing companies and suffer from the resulting economic hardships. Detroitbegan community gardens as means of beautifying dilapidated neighborhoods, providing access to freshproduce for lower income neighborhoods, and increasing the value of otherwise vacant inner city areas.The city is spotted with dozens of small plots that are gardened by the surrounding neighborhoodsthrough the assistance of The Greening of Detroit and a few other nonprofit organizations and fundedby the sale of the produce at local farmers markets. Danville cannot mimic Detroits widespread farmingefforts because of its smaller population. However, Danville can mirror Detroits model for small plotslocated within city blocks because, like Detroit, Danville has many vacant homes and empty city plotswith lower property values. Additionally, Detroits model has been successful in increasing access tofresh, healthy foods for lower income people that is a key goal of starting a Danville community garden.WINCHESTER, INDIANAWinchester, Ind., a small manufacturing town, is home to a successful community garden through thelocal YMCA. While small, Winchesters garden is divided into individual plots and each plot is gardenedby a family or individual. The leader of the garden encourages gardeners to plant an extra row to giveaway to the local food pantry. While this model does not engage all individuals in the community as isdesired in Danville, the donation of excess food and partnership with the YMCA showcases some of theopportunities available. Last summer, the Winchester garden donated over $650 to the local foodpantry as well as bushels of extra produce.RECOMMENDATIONS
  15. 15. C o m m u n i t y G a r d e n s | 15A variety of models and structures for community gardens have been successful throughout the country.Here in Danville, the community garden leaders must identify which garden fits their needs best. Fromour preliminary research, we recommend:Location Within a low income neighborhood; abandoned lot (free under urban squatting laws)Size Small; no more than 10 plots Raised beds: secures soil safety; increased accessibilityStructure Fence: deter crime Surrounding residents: provide increased access to healthy foods for low income individuals; improve relations with surrounding communityParticipants Experienced gardeners: help to educate fellow gardeners; better sustain produce Interested community members: by application; develop cross-community ties City of Danville: help to gain permission for land use; provide lower cost water use; access to city greenhouses6 Danville Public Schools: incorporate into science curriculum; teach healthy habitsPartnerships Master Gardeners, GardenClub of Danville, Danville Horticulture Society: provide expertise and education on gardening Community Market: provide outlet for commercial sale of produce Danville Science Center: develop related educational programming Sell excess produce at Farmers Market for fundsFunding Charge sliding scale fee for gardeners/membersVegetables Nightshade plants: tomatoes, potatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers, eggplantsNEXT STEPSFINANCIAL PROPOSAL 1. Planning Grant Estimated Cost: up to $5,000 Impact:  Fund a community survey to gauge interest  Acquire related texts and resources  Develop a test plot  Create long term plan for how community gardens will benefit Danville 2. Construction of a community garden Estimated Cost: up to $20,000 (Expected: ≈ $10,000) Impact:  Provide materials including raised beds, shed, tools, and fencing  Purchase a diverse group of plants to provide education and varied nutrients  Beautify neighborhoods and vacant lots  Increase cross cultural relationships and interactions
  16. 16. C o m m u n i t y G a r d e n s | 16  Build community support and interest  Land should be donated or acquired through urban squatting 3. Advertising and outreach Estimated Cost: up to $5,000 Impact:  Enhance biological science education for students  Improve community diet through nutrition programs  Engage more community members through diverse advertising  Provide texts and necessary materials for effective programsPLANNINGPARTNERSHIPSWe suggest the Danville Regional Foundation work in collaboration with the Obesity Coalition’sCommunity Gardens Committee to reduce duplication of efforts. The DRF should encourage theCommunity Gardens Committee to collaborate with several other partners, including the DanvilleMaster Gardener Association and other gardening organizations, the Community Market, churchleaders, nutrition experts, schools, and local small-scale farmers. The DRF occupies a unique position inthis community; it has a bird’s-eye view of the Danville area and has already shown that it can identifyand prompt local leaders to action. The DRF can play an integral role in making the gardens moreinclusive and successful.REGIONAL COLLABORATIONWhile our research efforts have focused on the City of Danville, we would like to reach out to the DRFsother areas of service, as well (Pittsylvania County and Caswell County). Although our research indicatesthat there is a greater need for community and neighborhood gardens in the City of Danville,Pittsylvania County and Caswell County have unique needs. Many residents in these rural areas ownenough land to maintain their own garden. However, Beverly Vaden, VT extension agent for Danvilleand Pittsylvania County, mentioned a need for community gardens at senior living facilities and seniorcenters such as Pittsylvania County Community Action in Chatham and the Cherrystone Center inRinggold. Rev. Delaware Clark Jr., executive administrator of the Cherrystone Missionary BaptistAssociation, mentioned that he would like to see a garden targeted toward senior citizens who grew upon gardens and now live in housing that does not offer opportunities for gardening. Clark believes thechurches should take a leadership role in the project. Joey Knight, an agricultural extension agent inCaswell County, said he thinks the residents would be interested in starting a community garden. Hethinks the Caswell Horticulture Club could lend expertise to the project.COMMUNITY SURVEYCommunity gardens in other places struggled due to lack of interest or suffered from increasedvandalism due to poor community relations. In Danville, we recognized the desire to involve low-incomeresidents but we must place the garden in a location surrounded by neighbors who approve and
  17. 17. C o m m u n i t y G a r d e n s | 17participate in community gardening. Mark Rembold, a horticulture instructor at Piedmont CommunityCollege, suggested a survey gathering interest in participation and attitudes toward communitygardening in the Dan River Region. Our suggested survey is included in the Appendix as developed bythe American Community Gardening Association.CONSTRUCTIONThis small grant should be used to supplement donated goods and services. The garden will needsupplies for fencing, raised beds, and sheds. The organizers should be able to gather many in-kinddonations from the abundant resources of the community. Ideally, the organizers should gather soil andmanure from farms and composters, plants and seeds from farmers, gardeners, and the city, and landshould be donated or acquired. In the city of Danville, if a vacant plot is cited for breaking an ordinance,any individual can claim squatting rights if they care for and maintain the land.OUTREACHA community garden should do more than provide vegetables and a place for interaction; it should starta conversation. Gardens offer an excellent opportunity to enhance classroom lessons with hands-onexperiential learning. Additionally, with rising levels of obesity in the region, gardens provide a place toshow families and residents ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables into their diet. This supplementalgrant should also cover necessary advertising costs such as paper, radio, and TV.CONCLUSIONWe recommend the further pursuance of a community garden for the Danville Region based on theneed for improved health and connection to our community. An inclusive conversation for stakeholderscan help us recognize strong leaders for the project and allow clear guidelines to be established. Asurvey of the community followed by thorough outreach to the greater region can help to establish apool of interested parties and identify concerns that need to be addressed. The groundbreaking of anygarden must be preceded by thoughtful planning for the acquisition of land, purchase of insurance,selection of participants, and design of the garden. Danvilles rich history of agriculture and many activegardening groups and churches lead to many interested parties. A community garden can help to bringtogether citizens and move Danville forward into a healthier, more united future.
  18. 18. C o m m u n i t y G a r d e n s | 18APPENDIXSAMPLE SURVEY ON COMMUNITY GARDENING1. Would you be interested in being involved in a community garden startup project in Danville? Yes/No (Circle one)2. If yes, what is your level of experience as a gardener? (choose only ONE answer)a. No experience (never gardened)b. Novice (garden recreationally)c. Expert/ master gardener3. Are you a member of a garden club? Yes/ No (Circle one) If yes, what garden club?4. Is there a vacant lot in your neighborhood that you think would make a good location for aneighborhood garden? If so, what is the name of your neighborhood/street name of the vacant lot?5. For what reasons would you like to become involved in the community garden? (Rank the followingfrom 1-4, with one being your primary reason)______ To meet and socialize with neighbors/ community member______ To have access to fresh produce______ To learn how to garden in a collaborative environment______ Environmental reasons (i.e. sustainability)6. How much time each week would you be willing to invest in the garden?7. What challenges do you anticipate would come with starting and/or maintaining a communitygarden?8. What vegetables or flowers are you interested in planting in the community or neighborhoodgarden?9. If you are interested in becoming involved in the regional conversation on community gardening,please provide your contact information below:a. Name__________________________b. Phone Number ____________________c. E-mail address ____________________REFERENCES
  19. 19. C o m m u n i t y G a r d e n s | 19The greening of Detroit. 2010 Available from http://www.greeningofdetroit.com/.American Community Gardening Association, "10 Steps to Starting a Community Garden", http://communitygarden.org/docs/10stepsstart.pdf (accessed 28 May 2010).Armstrong, D. 2000. A survey of community gardens in upstate new york: Implications for health promotion and community development. Health and Place 6, (4): 319-327, http://www.cityfarmer.org/CGNewYork.html (accessed 28 May 2010).Benjamin, A., and R. Pirog. 2003. Checking the food odometer: Comparing food miles for local versus conventional produce sales to Iowa institutions. Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, http://www.leopold.iastate.edu/pubs/staff/files/food_travel072103.pdf.Calorie Count. Calories burned planting seedlings. 28 May 2010]. Available from http://caloriecount.about.com/calories-burned-planting-seedlings-a163.Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Physical activity. Available from http://www.cdc.gov.proxy.wm.edu/physicalactivity/.Center for Health and the Global Environment. Healthy and sustainable food: "Is local more nutritious?" it depends. in Harvard Medical School [database online]. Available from http://chge.med.harvard.edu.proxy.wm.edu/programs/food/nutrition.html.Gardenworks. The multiple benefits of community gardening, http://www.communitygarden.org/docs/learn/articles/multiple_benefits.pdf.J. Kaufman and M. Bailkey, "Farming Inside Cities: Entrepreneurial Urban Agriculture in the United States" Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 2000), http://queencityfarm.org/FarmingInsideCities.pdf.Lackey, J. F. 1998. Evaluation of community gardens. University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension, http://www.uwex.edu/ces/pdande/evaluation/pdf/comgardens.PDF.Lynchburg Grows. About us. 2010 [cited 28 May 2010]. Available from http://www.lynchburggrows.org/?page_id=4.Malakoff, D. 1995. What good is community greening? Community Greening Review 5: 4- 11, http://communitygarden.org/docs/learn/articles/whatgoodiscommunitygreening.pdf.Rembold, M. . Instructor of Horticulture at Piedmont Community College. 27 May 2010.Rexrode, D. L., T. M. Guterbock, and A. Diop. 2009. Danville region social capital survey, http://danvilleregionalfoundation.org/documents/DanvilleSocialCapitalSurvey- UVA2009.pdf (accessed 28 May 2010).Richmond, B. 2010. Community garden encourages nutrition, fighting hunger. Winchester News-Gazette, 29 March
  20. 20. C o m m u n i t y G a r d e n s | 20 2010. http://www.winchesternewsgazette.com/articles/2010/03/30/news/doc4bb0adfb7200815276009 5.txt.Schmelzkopf, K. 1995. Urban community gardens as contested space Geographical Review 85, (3): 364,365-381, http://www.jstor.org.proxy.wm.edu/stable/215279 (accessed 28 May 2010).Tampa Bay School Gardening Network. Benefits of school gardening. Available from http://web3.cas.usf.edu/tbsg/benefitsofschoolgardening.aspx (accessed 28 May 2010).

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