Gardening for Life!

Garden Team Culture

Cultivate a Thriving Garden Team Culture Year Round:

Have fun! 

This is very important!  A garden is a project to gather around for joy, relaxation, and adventure.  Bringing a garden to life is not an extension of everyday work, office politics, chores, power plays, solitary ambition or conflict! 

If these elements creep into garden planning, take a moment and say: "Wait a minute, hold everything, we're all on the same side here creating a great garden space!  There's no need for stress, pressure or tension!" 

At each Garden Team meeting try one of these activities and post the results on the garden's web page.


January: Gardeners define their experience by how they are treated at the beginning, how their needs and interests are met and how follow-up takes place.


Activity: List 3 ways to improve a gardeners first contact with a community garden.

a)


b)


c)



February: Many people join a community garden to learn how to garden for the very first time.


Activity: List 3 ways you can welcome and encourage gardeners new to food growing.

a)


b)


c)



March:  Identify the strengths of the gardeners and work with them.

 
Activity: List 3 ways to get to know the strengths of the gardeners.

a)


b)


c)


April: Explain a lot. When gardeners know why, they can accept the how and the what.


Activity: List 3 issues that could need explanation and list how these could be clearly communicated to gardeners and to members of the neighbourhood.

a)


b)


c)



May:  Find out what gardeners want to learn. 

Contact residents who are  experienced gardeners  and invite them to be in the garden for an hour during planting days, garden maintenance days and harvest days  to answer questions and give friendly advice.  If you cannot identify a neighbour willing to act as a gardening coach contact the Community Garden Resource Network of the Calgary Horticultural Society.


Activity: List what kind of learning opportunities will be meaningful to your gardeners this year.

a)


b)


c)



June:  Practice positive behavior to make the garden a good place for everyone. If a conflict situation arises, mention that the garden is a place where everyone can use calmer ways of being and acting.


Activity: List the words and phrases that can be used to transform a heated argument into a constructive debate or discussion.

a)


b)


c)

 

July:   Listen first to understand the issue a person is concerned about.  Then listen further to understand the person's feelings connected to the concern. Listen to people with opinions differing from yours until they feel understood before negotiating a solution.  People may not be able to hear, take in, understand, consider, and be influenced by what you are saying until they feel understood.


Activity: List 3 ways you can check whether you understand a person's comment / opinion / concern.

a)


b)


c)



August:  Use negotiation in order to address any conflict.

Activity: List 3 steps in effective negotiation.  For example, find a third alternative solution that is better than the two solutions that have divided people into two opposing groups.

a)

b)

c)


September: Teach what you learn and do what you teach others.


Activity: List 3 things you have learned and describe how you could share them with others.

a)


b)


c)

 

October:  Realize and understand the abundance of the garden. There will always be more to harvest than you expect.  Share the harvest surpluses generously.


Activity: List 3 ways to identify groups in your neighbourhood who may not have a lot of access to fresh produce and who might really appreciate a gift of fresh produce from a community garden.

a)


b)


c)



November:  Inspire trust from gardeners and visitors to the garden by being completely trustworthy.


Activity: List 3 ways your garden team can inspire trust from gardeners, neighbourhood residents and garden visitors.

a)


b)


c)


December:  Focus on garden goals. The moment a gardener makes a garden issue a personal issue, bring back the discussion to the garden issue and separate it from anything personal.


Activity: List words and phrases to use to re-focus a garden issue that has become mixed with a personal reaction.

a)


b)


c)