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planning out a Suburban Garden-Share/COOP/CSA....looking for ideas,direction,insight.

Matthew Fallon

Joined: Jan 07, 2010
Posts: 307
Location: long island, ny Z-7a

we started our Baldwin Organic Garden Share project last year (in february), expanding our garden across the whole yard(as the goal) and opening it up to a small group of Local garden members that could share some of the work,crops,inputs etc, then grow it into a decentralized cooperative network by transforming their yards into similar ways, whatever the individual members wanted.

last year went ok,but participation got cut short in the beginning as i took an unexpected last minute trip to Bolivia for 3 months in may. 1 person kept it going, then i got back to it in august, an elder woman friend joined in september coming about twice a week for an hour or 'contracts' were needed for a 2-3 person operation so we never got our details ironed out with a share-agreement..
this year i'm getting more and more inquiries through our facebook page,friends and other local circles , if we're to grow in numbers i feel it's Really important to have the arrangement clearly written out for folks now before things get fully underway.

Is anyone out there currently running a CSA,garden-cooperative, yard-share,or similar model?or have links to helpful resources of this nature? i'd like to see how other such groups are organizing things,to have a starting point for us.
i certainly don't anticipate getting 10's of people wanting to garden here every week(although you never know!), we'd have to have a cap actually, but i want to plan something that's expandable and VERY flexible for a wide variety of people and their involvement/commitment/ability levels....

some people are available 2-5 times a week while others maybe 2-5 a month or even less.some of us are up in years and others strong-like-bull. so far i'm thinking to break it down by an hourly credit tally, a minimum of hours for the month/season , full/half/quarter-share buy-ins, and fairly divide the harvests accordingly. a weekly schedule with x slots per day available,list of chores to be done(extra credit for tougher/undesirable jobs?) other sorts of work-trades(time for plants etc?) i'd like to create a flyer to put around , outline benefits and maybe expectations on it?.
a few ideas we have talked about incorporating into things for fun and/or funding are: tool-lending/rental,media lending library,permablitz/dig-in/crop-mobs, various garden/craft-workshops, plant sales, a SPIN-Farming offshoot, selling at farmers market and from home on certain hours,community outreach(food donations), gorilla gardening with perennial foods in park/wooded areas nearby. building/selling garden related structures (arbors,grow-light shelves,worm-bins,rain-barrel systems,etc)

Besides the organizational/administrative stuff, we're also busy planning out the actual garden.. new irrigation systems,raised beds and other gardening areas around the property. to that end i took the time to measure out all major landmarks and drew the whole place up in 3-D in google-sketchup. i've made an album of 30+ images from all around the yard,with some basic descriptions and added it to our Facebook Page.unfortunately i cant 'share' the photo directly WITH the description of what you're looking at .so they're only on facebook (unless i copy/paste a few here under the pics)..also under the facebook albums are actualy photographs all around the yard (mostly in the 3/2011 album) i may need to break some of these topics out into individual threads (the rain-barrels/drip-irrigation, fruit and nut orchard/grafting, shade-gardens, compost areas etc) but for now maybe all comments can go here though, i'll put the pics in as thumbnails so it hopefully wont get too crazy to load.

thanks for checking it out, hope you enjoy (and have some input!)

click here for comments/descriptions of pics for now....
3D Model of our Home & Garden

Baldwin Organic Garden Share  Our home-based garden cooperative.  Tribal Wind Arts Rustic Furniture  & Artisan-Craftwork from reclaimed suburban trees
Tyler Ludens

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5727
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
Very ambitious, I applaud you.

Idle dreamer

Matthew Fallon

Joined: Jan 07, 2010
Posts: 307
Location: long island, ny Z-7a
thanks Tyler, we'll see how it goes, still "defining" ourselves~

Matthew Fallon

Joined: Jan 07, 2010
Posts: 307
Location: long island, ny Z-7a
After searching around , i couldtn find a model to emulate that really suited us , we've decided on a sort of scaled-down CSA/volunteer scenario that i hope will work out well.

there is a raw/live-vegan potluck meetup-group in our town that sadly will end next month when our organizer and host moves up to vermont with his new wife, but people hope to keep it going by having someone(s) step up,
last night was the potluck , a few people offered to host movie nights (we screen a documentary each month on a separate day) but only 1 other is doing a potluck 30 minutes away.

im thinking we can fill this need and have a built-in attendance and possibly clientele /volunteer gang . a monthly potluck on a sunday afternoon. volunteering members can pick their own bag of produce , for paid members we'll have bins already picked but not bagged and washed...about $25 value per bag for 5 months.
i pitched our idea to the group last night, got a Lot of questions and overall good response. here is a copy of the hand-out i left with folks..i think i took 20 copies, plus 30 business cards we made up quick on the fly. all were gone instantly so that was promising '

lemme know what you think' . csa's in our area go from $575 to $970 and are 20-26 weeks. some require 15hrs work also,

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subject: planning out a Suburban Garden-Share/COOP/CSA....looking for ideas,direction,insight.