Feature Article - March 2012
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Gathering a Community

Planning Community Gardens and More

By Kelli Anderson

Many well-intentioned, passionate volunteers climbing aboard the gardening train, however, are new to gardening. For them, training in both leadership and in sound gardening practices will ensure that programs start strong and stay that way. One way GT has managed to train so many with so few in charge is through their annual Grow Together Conference held each March that offers workshops on everything from blight prevention to beekeeping.

"The conference is one day with 61 workshops," said Edie Stone, director of the Green Thumb Program with New York City Parks and Recreation. "Last year 1,400 came. Our people teach for free (people with different specialties), and a lot of them are gardeners." GT also makes education part of the contract between the city and gardeners. "We distribute our supplies to the gardens," Stone explained, "so if someone wants soil or compost, they have to come to a class to learn how."