Friday, April 3, 2009

Our Project: Community Outreach Agenda

Our Project: Community Meeting Notes

(Set up)Here is a transcript of what the participants had to say at our community meeting:

(Intro from Dr. Raja)
In one word, what is your vision for your neighborhood?
Multicultural        Supportive       Crime-free        leaders       beautiful      sustainable      pride colors    resurgent     community     communalism     hopeful     jobs      food    resources     clean  education    a center      enjoyable      friendly      where I will live the rest of my life

What do you like about the outdoor environment in your neighborhood?
Garden Week     Street Trees     Vacant Property Potential       Birds     Good Neighbors     Walkability     Butterflies       Historic Architecture       Squirrels     Multicultural       Parks     Water       Mulberry Trees        Oak Trees        Lilacs          Kids Playing Outside       Shops                      Diversity in Growing

What would you change about the outdoor environment in your neighborhood?
Not enough Shopping       Property Neglect     Bad Neighbors     Less Parking on Greenspace/ More Parking for neighborhoods        More Private Ownership     Less Crime      Not Enough Street Trees      Want to See Property Well-Maintained    More Places for Teens    More Palces for Parents     More Place For Kids    Less Absentee Landlords    Less Toxicity     MAKE IT FUN   Less Potholes     Improve Public Transportation     More Color     More Focus on Immigrants    Street Performers      More Snow Shoveling by Individuals      More Investment in Abandoned Corridors     More Affordable Housing

Mapping of all Gardens          Connection with Universities        Retention of Seniors     Getting workers and extra help        Getting children involved       Grant Money      Relationship/collaboration forming       Pass on Trees and Shrubs      Grate lots in neighborhoods       Water Access         Legal issues (Zoning liability)      Publicity/knowledge         Regional relationships          Prison seed starting          Connections with Cornell Extension/ Olmsted Conservancy       Equipment from City       Petty Politics       Utilizing components of other city projects (reuse of materials)      community day-city resources        Collaboration with Public works         Security         Fence or no fence debate         Fence Chances dynamics     Collaborating with commercial gardeners      Sharing of Resources and Plants     Center for compost sharing       meeting points for sharing      Bulk cost sharing       Purpose of garden

Break Out Groups:

What is a Community Garden?
-A Central Part of a community where activities can be done together
-Outdoor space to live
-Shared space with vegetation
-Ownership-community initiated
-Active living-wellness and nutrition
-Can be just an open green space
-Food Source

-Successful gardens are a collective effort to flip neighborhoods and combat crime and issues of race 
-Neighborhood upkeep
-Plant theft happened, but the neighborhood got involved in a "True Crime Watch" to protect garden
-Get to know your neighbors
-Children learn- once they learn how to grow and upkeep a property, they will never forget
-Venue for learning
-open to anyone, kids experts- broad range of people and very inclusive
-Senior citizens are key players and gardens act as a tool to get them out onto the streets
-One garden took bits of other seniors' personal gardens and planted them in the communal one
-Multigenerational hub

-not a textbook approach, but a working approach to gardens
-no pipedreams
-short on leaders- many get burnt out
-young people aren't involved
-Volunteers from out of neighborhoods are taxing to maintain and disconnected from the surroundings
-Gardens are very positive as long as well maintained
-Gardens without water sources

-Water lines
-Soil testing
-Permit for Lands
-Land Trust
-Money and equipment
-paid gardeners
-strong outreach
-Change of City's archaic laws

Final definition:
   Community Gardens are community centers for social and public activities that are dynamic, diverse, educational, shared and green which promote health and well-being. 

Orange Group:
What is a community garden?
-shared space sustained by local community
-civic center spot
-place to learn
-creating roots
-feeling of place
-PRIDE- sense/relation to area/belonging
-FUN: dinners, music, BBQ, cooking/shared needs
-reclaiming vacant/under-utilized lands
-community sharing/leadership
-fresh food
-epicenter/shared space for cultural diversity and education
-sense of ownership for community connection
-citizens taking back vacant lots to grow food, flowers and have fun

What are the needs?
-access to water
-blog: share ideas/information with out meetings
-sign on lot to explain what is going on
-be more walkable/inviting central location
-city to invest time, effort and energy to embrace gardens
-less government/city intervention and interference
-zoning codes to allow gardening, access to water to be able to have more farming
-more public support and help gardens catch on
-advertise gardening efforts
-legitimize gardens
-lease structure (long term)..create land bank

A garden is a shared space to invigorate communalism, recreation, beautification, and pride without prejudice. 

Green Group:
-Gardens encourage companionship
-Teach kids to like bugs
-gardens are a site of entertainment-concerts, place to eat lunch- specifically referring to garden by Tri-Main building
-Service learning- for people of all ages- range from grade school to college
-Gardens also have benefits for people with learning disabilities and are handicapped
-encourage community activities
-gardens have music activities that bring people out

-more involvement needed
-better communication
-get various groups to volunteer
-some problems with vandalism
-people take veggies that don't help to harvest
-more people visit and volunteer
-ongoing collaboration

-use raised beds when soil is contaminated
-growing senior citizen population that could service gardens
-potential for program to bring together grandparents and grandchildren
-encourage engagement from Mayor's Junior Impact Team to do heavier work in gardens
-Whatever city digs up should be recycled into garden reuse program
-Business donations
-Economy could encourage people to grow veggies
-gardens can have a special section for kids to grow

Place for neighbors to come together producing fresh food with a greater sense of community and to establish friendships. Everyone shares in the garden and it is a place to be proud of.