The American Community Gardening Association’s

The Community Gardener
Volume V Issue IV

Growing Community through Gardening and Greening Across the U.S. and Canada


Easement preserves Tommy Thompson Community Garden
by Jim Flint, Friends of Burlington Gardens, Burlington, Vermont
1 2 A Garden Preservation Success Story ACGA PresidentElect’s Message A Handy Guide to Not Growing Radishes

Last summer a news story circulated on the ACGA listserv regarding the pending sale of public land in Burlington’s Intervale, the city’s prime agricultural area and home of the Tommy Thompson Community Garden, the largest community garden in Vermont. The five-acre garden site was first marked out in 1979 by Tommy Thompson, who founded Gardens for All, predecessor of the National Gardening Association. Thompson hoped that a well managed community garden would be the first step in restoring the Intervale flood plain as a vital agricultural resource for the people of Burlington.




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The following spring, the Intervale Community Garden opened with 20 garden plots, 25 feet by 30 feet each. Gardeners were required to use organic gardening methods, Building Community which at the time was in the “Off” Season considered revolutionary. By 1988, when the site was renamed in honor of its Book Review founder, the community Gardening When It garden had grown to 80 plots. Counts Today there are 150 plots Tommy Thompson circa 1980 serving an estimated 500 people who walk, bicycle, and Bulletin Board drive down an urban dirt road to reach the fertile site.
OH Conference MI Conference Board of Directors National Summit on Garden Policy

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Tommy Thompson had a dream that community gardens could have long term security. He negotiated a 20 year lease with the Burlington Electric Department, which had purchased the land a few years earlier. In subsequent years, B.E.D. leased additional acreage in the flood plain to the nonprofit Intervale Center, which subleased the fertile fields to organic farmers.

When B.E.D. determined in 2006 that some of its Intervale holdings were not needed for future power generation, public service guidelines stipulated that the utility should sell the A Who’s Who in the land for the benefit of ratepayers. With the blessing of city officials, the Intervale Center Gardening World applied for a $200,000 grant to purchase 199 acres of agricultural fields and wetlands from SAVE THE DATE Seeking Garden B.E.D. As a condition of the sale, an easement Mosaics Weed Watchers ACGA’s 28th Annual would be established to conserve the land in perpetuity.
Magazines and More to Check Out Give the gift of ACGA

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Conference Boston, MA

August 9-12, 2007

While the proposed sale was deemed a positive move for the city’s organic farmers, the situation with the Tommy Thompson Community Garden was not as straightforward. The initial (Continued on page 11)



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A Message from ACGA President-Elect, James Kuhns
A new year is just around the corner – and it promises to be an exciting one for the ACGA. We continue to settle nicely into our new home at the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, Ohio. Our Operations Administrator Lexie Stoia is full of energy and good ideas, and is a pleasure to work with. In January, the Columbus staff doubles, when Sarah Alexander begins work as the Programs Manager. Welcome to the ACGA Sarah! Speaking of Columbus, the second annual Ohio Community Gardening Conference will be held on March 16 – 17 at Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus. Two keynote speakers are not to be missed – motivational speaker Rosemarie Rossetti and Keith Tidball speaking about the Garden Mosaics program. If you live in the Midwest, why not take a mid-winter get-away and get primed for the upcoming growing season? Still on the conference theme, please mark on your calendars the annual ACGA conference – Beantown Digs Community Gardens – from August 9 to 12. When I look back on 2006, I think of the incredible contributions that ACGA members make to the organization. From participating on committees, teleconferences, writing articles, making donations or telling friends and colleagues about the ACGA, members make an invaluable contribution. If you have special skills you wish to share with us, please contact Betsy Johnson, our tireless executive director. We’re especially on the outlook for someone with Microsoft Publisher experience who could help out with the newsletter. The New Year will see three valuable people leaving the board of directors. It was a pleasure working with Gerard Lordahl, Martha Egnal and Rebecca Ferguson. Your work as president, in the youth and advocacy committees was much appreciated. Please stay involved! I wish everyone a safe and healthy holiday season and pleasant gardening dreams for the New Year. James

The Community Gardener is published by the American Community Gardening Association, growing community through gardening and greening across the United States and Canada.
The American Community Gardening Association (ACGA) recognizes that community gardening improves the quality of life for people by providing a catalyst for neighborhood and community development, stimulating social interaction, encouraging self-reliance, beautifying neighborhoods, producing nutritious food, reducing family food budgets, conserving resources and creating opportunities for recreation, exercise, therapy and education.

877-ASK-ACGA (877-275-2242); Newsletter: Betsy Johnson, Executive Director; James Kuhns, Ted Zerger, Shandal Grayson, Zazel Loven, John Hershey, Don Lambert, Don Boekelheide, Donald Loggins, ACGA Communications Committee

MAILING ADDRESS American Community Gardening Association c/o FPC, 1777 East Broad Street, Columbus, OH 43203



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A Handy Guide to Not Growing Radishes Celebrating lessons learned in a season of gardening
By John Hershey, Denver, Colorado
As another community gardening season winds down, we have a lot to celebrate. We grew delicious food, we enjoyed the company of our fellow gardeners, and we were the only people in the country who could safely eat spinach this summer. labor, they’ll wander off and become addicted to video games before their love of gardening has a chance to take root. Following this expert consensus, I planted radish seeds with Daniel this spring. He was so excited as he eagerly turned the soil with his little shovel, added compost, and carefully planted the seeds in a neat row. Imagine his joy when little sprouts sprang from the ground after just a couple days. And the boy’s attention span never faltered. He proudly watered, weeded, and admired his row. The fun and anticipation grew apace with the plants.

But for me, the greatest reward is the fun I have with my kids. Gardening with children, especially in a community garden, is a wonderful experience for everyone. This year my sons met many nice people from various places and cultures. Our garden friends shared delicious heirloom tomatoes and funky loofah gourds with us. And gardening with my 3-year-old son Daniel has finally allowed me to Finally, yet only about three weeks later, the big day arrived. achieve the elusive “knee high by the Fourth of July” Harvest time! Daniel was beside himself with excitement standard for my corn. Hey, nobody ever said it had to be my about eating something he grew himself. These gardening knee! books are right on target, I thought. The reward comes so soon, he’ll surely be hooked on gardening for life. But we also celebrate the things that went wrong in the Daniel triumphantly pulled up a big radish. Rinsed off with garden. Celebrate failure? Oh the hose, it glistened beautifully in the morning sun. Its rich yes. We cherish our red color must have made it look more delicious than candy gardening screw-ups because, to him. I snipped off the root tip and leaves, and Daniel unlike most other failures in beamed with admiration at his creation. Here comes the life, garden disasters are payoff for both of us, I thought. He gets to enjoy a temporary. The first frost delicious vegetable he grew himself, and I get to celebrate wipes the slate clean, and we successfully instilling the values of working with nature and start fresh next year, eating healthy local food. empowered to do better by the lessons we've learned My sweet little boy wanted so much to like the taste of his from our missteps. home-grown treat that he exclaimed “Yum!” as soon as he popped the radish into his mouth. But then he bit into it, One error I made this season was taking the garden for and an instant later the smile fell away, and his face granted as a safe and nurturing place for children. It is such contorted into a grimace of shock and betrayal. a place, of course. But you still have to be careful. One day I was tending our plot with the kids. I hunted for ripe “Oh!” he screamed. “It burns! It burns!” tomatoes while they picked and played in the bean tepee nearby. Suddenly it was a little too quiet. “Daniel?” I called. He frantically spat out the spicy chunks with one of those Hearing no reply, I looked up, and there he was, straddling “How could you do this to me, Daddy” looks on his face. the top of the chain-link fence around the garden, teetering Lesson #2: Don’t believe everything you read in 8 feet above the concrete sidewalk on the other side. newspapers and gardening books. Lesson #1: Determined children can find something After that experience, he wouldn’t even try the cherry dangerous to do in any environment, no matter how safe it tomatoes, which really are sweet as candy. When I offer seems. them, he replies with a “Yeah, right” expression that shows But by far my biggest blunder this year was growing he doesn’t want to get burned again. So I’ll wait for next radishes. I did it in good faith, following the advice of all year, hoping his memory of this trauma will fade and he’ll the authoritative books on gardening with children. Plant regain his desire to explore the garden and taste its delights. radishes with kids, they all say, because they grow fast I can picture him out there already, wandering among the enough to hold a toddler’s attention. Be careful with carrots foliage, choosing from all the shiny, inviting treats hanging and corn, the garden gurus caution. If you make the kids from the plants, and happily popping one into his… wait so long to enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of their “No Daniel! Stop! That’s a jalapeño!”



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Building Community in the “Off ” Season
By Ted Zerger, Salina, Kansas
Gardening as such is over in central Kansas around midOctober i.e. first frost. The last of the sweet potatoes have been dug and a few peppers and green tomatoes have been salvaged. What now? Clearly, only community remains when gardening is removed from community gardening. Now is the time to bring the people together for activities other than gardening. From the beginning, it became apparent that there was as much need for park atmosphere/open space as there was for gardening space at the Peace Garden. It is now about 50-50. Post gardening season activities at the Peace Garden include a Halloween party and a Christmas party. October 29 was our Ha llo ween p a rt y. Halloween Party at the Abo ut thirty-five Peace Garden children showed up along with many Sunday, October 29, 2006 parents and at grandparents. 4:00 p.m. Pumpkins were Pumpkin and Gourd decorating decorated (not carved) Hot dogs, other food, drinks with vegetables, small Halloween treats marshmallows, and All are Welcome raisins. In addition, the children enjoyed Halloween Party painting dried gourds. at the Peace Garden If activities don’t bring growing boys, food Sunday, October 29, 2006 will. Church folks, at most of whom do not 4:00 p.m. live in the Pumpkin and Gourd decorating neighborhood, and Hot dogs, other food, drinks neighborhood folks Halloween treats bring food. Invariably, All are Welcome a football or soccer ball shows up and a game breaks out. A good time was had by all. Several years ago, Marlon, who lives across the street from the garden told me that children in the neighborhood don’t get many gifts, if any, at Christmas time. He suggested we have a Christmas party. Now Marlon doesn’t have much of earthly things. He gets a modest military pension which pays his rent, food, other bills and maintaining his bicycle, his only means of transportation. Marlon started a Christmas fund by picking up aluminum cans. Last year, he had $60 saved up. To save you doing the math, at 40 cents a pound, that’s 150 pounds of cans. Of course, others in the neighborhood and church folks know he does this and drop off their cans at his place. Marlon and I go to Dollar General and he buys small gifts for the children. He wraps them, dons his Santa hat and the party begins.

Children make ornaments and hang them from trees, shrubs, and rose arbors. People bring lights which are strung around the storage building and rose arbors. Of course, there is food and hot chocolate. This party is all outdoors. Some years, the weather has been miserable, but it takes more than bad weather to dampen the community spirit. Is it worth all the time and energy spent in planning and carrying out the event.? You be the judge. After last year’s party, it was getting dark and most of the people had left; Marlon said, “There would be a lot fewer problems in this world if there’d be more things like this going on.” Examples of Community Garden Events from the October & November ACGA Teleconference Workshops Gateway Greening, St. Louis: Great Perennial Divide and Chefs in a Garden Wasatch Community Gardens, Salt Lake City: Tomato Sandwich Party Denver Urban Gardeners, Denver: Jack-o-Launch & Pumpkin Fest and Community Garden Tours

GardenWorks, Minneapolis & St. Paul: Parade of Gardens



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Steve Solomon’s Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food In Hard Times
Book Review By Don Boekelheide, Charlotte, North Carolina
No book can teach you to garden. That said, every good gardener has a couple of favorites on the bookshelf, with pages worn from years of serving as reference and reminder. My guess is that Steve Solomon’s Gardening When It Counts - Growing Food In Hard Times is headed for this iconic status, at least for home vegetable growers. Solomon’s propensity for ranting has pluses and minuses. When he fumes on about the “American Sanitary System” (ASS) with its unrealistic insistence on bug and hole-free produce, it’s all in good fun. His dismissal of John Jeavons and intensive gardening has a nasty edge that is harder to stomach, though intensive gardening techniques demand much more water, nutrients, attention and human energy, Solomon wants to be ‘the gardening grandfather you never and do not always pay off in high yields. had’, and his unpretentious volume of good advice and curmudgeonly rants aren’t far off the mark. A child of the Solomon’s blustery self-confidence doesn’t mean you can 1960’s, he joined the intensive gardening movement, trust everything he says, however. Occasionally, he gets the inspired in part by John Jeavons, keynote speaker at scientific basics wrong, for instance in his discussion of the ACGA's 2006 Conference in Los Angeles. Seeking a right symbiotic bacteria that grow on legume roots. Nor does he livelihood for an organic gardener, Solomon started have much positive to say about community gardening. He Territorial Seed in the early 1970’s, and then wrote a d i s m i s s e s A m e r i c a n popular book on gardening in Cascadia. community gardens, claiming that they “haven't Following his personal gardening path, Solomon ultimately caught on yet” in this book came to question key tenets of Jeavon’s-style intensive published in 2006, and gardening, particularly after years of conscientiously testing scoffing at plot sizes as vegetable varieties in Territorial’s trial garden. Solomon “too small for a serious became equally disenchanted with the whole garden gardener”. He never really consumer industry, with its glossy magazines promising answers the question of instant success, and big box centers full of expensive how people can find land. landscape gadgets and weakly rooted transplants. He The notion of cooperation returned to the simple, straightforward gardening methods among gardeners seems of earlier times, based on a good rake, a good shovel, and o ut s i d e h i s vi si o n . wider spacing to allow plants to grow with less water, less Solomon himself gardens work, and much less obsessive fretting about it all. on a large lot in Tasmania, Solomon believes that his down-to-earth methods are ideal where he and his wife now for the hard times ahead, an unavoidable crisis brought on live. Bottom line - in synergistically by the end of the petroleum economy, reading this book, it is important to be just as skeptical of shrinking household incomes in ‘developed countries’ due Solomon as he is of “Everyone Else”, his term for all who to globalization, and scarcity of water. He thinks families disagree with him. will respond to lean budgets as their grandparents did, by None of this diminishes the value of the wealth of cultivating food gardens using the no-frills, mostly organic gardenworthy information Solomon’s book offers. garden techniques in this book. Following chapters discussing veggie-by-veggie review of Gardening When It Counts is packed with practical varieties and techniques that have worked for him. This information. Most of it is, in fact, good sensible advice, final chapter alone makes the book worth owning. especially about the use and care of simple hand tools. In spite of being billed as a book for beginners, my sense is Solomon isn’t a Luddite - he hires a tractor to work up his that intermediate to advanced gardeners will get the most own garden - but rightly debunks the necessity and out of it. It is an ideal holiday gift for the gardeners on effectiveness of power tools such as garden rototillers or your list, and it might make a great ‘garden book group’ compost turners. He suggests growing from seed rather pick, sure to spark lively discussions. Community gardeners than buying transplants (coming from the founder of can find lots of practical, money-saving, yield-increasing Territorial Seed, this isn’t surprising), with minimal reliance ideas here, in spite of Solomon’s geezerly dissing of our on any purchases from Garden Centers. His list of movement. But what good garden doesn’t have a few rock recommended seed suppliers is especially helpful, and and briers? Amidst all his grouching, Solomon, like his covers many of my own favorites, including Johnny’s and Biblical namesake, have plenty of wise things to say. Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. (New Society, 2006—ISBN: 086571553X)



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BULLETIN BOARD Join ACGA’s Advocacy Alert ACGA to Support “RECIPE”
Encouraging community gardening and greening is at the core of ACGA's mission. An expanded Advocacy section of the ACGA website coming in early 2007. Meanwhile, sign up for ACGA Action Alerts & Policy Updates at By signing up you will receive emails about national and local community garden and urban agriculture policy issues and simple ways you can take action, individually or as part of an organization. We will also send occasional ‘tool kit’ pieces and advocacy related research. In 2007, ACGA will be leading an effort to get passage of legislation that has been introduced by Rep. Carol Maloney of Manhattan. Revitalizing Cities through Parks Enhancement Act (RECIPE) would authorize funds from the Housing & Urban Development (HUD) to make grants to nonprofit community organizations for development of open space (including community gardens) on municipally owned vacant lots in urban areas.

2007 USDA Community Food Projects Grants Teleconference on January 11
As in 2006, applicants for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Community Food Projects grants will need to submit a letter of intent in early February. In 2007, all final applications must be submitted electronically. Participate on ACGA’s next Teleconference workshop on January 11 at 4 PM eastern to learn about the three different funding opportunities, how the proposals must be submitted, and how they will be evaluated. To register for the January 11 Workshop, email Check the ACGA website for a complete 2007 Teleconference Workshop schedule. New in 2007 will be Saturday workshops. Also now available online are recordings of the prior workshops on fundraising, community garden events, farmers’ markets, immigrants, and community gardens and parks departments.

ACGA Growing Communities Workshops in Salt Lake City, Denver, Atlanta, Dallas, & Portland
The next ACGA Growing Community Workshop will be in: Salt Lake City: January 26-27, 2007 Denver: February 10-11, 2007 Atlanta: February 23-24, 2007 Dallas: February 19, 2006 Portland, OR: March 2-3, 2006 This highly participatory workshop involves attendees in attending and presenting workshops on community organizing, leadership development, fundraising, communication planning, coalition building, and more. For more information, call 877-275-2242.

2007 Ohio Community Gardening Conference in Columbus, OH: Growing Neighborhood Leaders March 17-18, 2007

Mark your calendars now for the 2007 Ohio Community Gardening Conference. Plan on attending both days for great community gardening workshops and learning how to grow your leadership skills for garden sustainability. Programs are presented by Franklin Park Conservatory’s community gardening program, Growing to Green, and the American Community Gardening Association. Information: Bill Dawson, Growing to Green Coordinator Other workshops are being planned for Minneapolis, San 614-645-5952 Francisco, and Virginia. Contact ACGA at 877-275-2242 if your organization is interested in hosting the workshop. John Jeavons Workshop in Detroit, MI

Join an ACGA Committee
ACGA Committees generally meet monthly by toll-free conference call. Members are welcome to join the Communications, Advocacy, Youth, Program, Research, Social Justice, and Membership committees. To join a committee, contact the board chair (see page 7) or email or call 877-275-2242.

John Jeavons is teaching a GROW BIOINTENSIVE Sustainable Farming Workshop & Economic Mini-Farming course in Detroit from March 30 - April 1, 2007. These events will be hosted by the Garden Resource Program Collaborative. Information: Ashley Atkinson at the Greening of Detroit 313-237-8736



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Martha Stewart Supports ACGA
On September 29 Martha Stewart Omnimedia sponsored a garden festival fundraiser in New York City. The proceeds of an auction of photographs are being used to support the Council on the Environment of New York City to develop a new community garden opposite Mt. Sinai Hospital. Additional funds are being donated to ACGA. Martha Stewart Living would like to replicate this arrangement in other cities.

Feel free to contact board members with questions about ACGA or community gardening. For complete contact information, go to: Kate Chura, Treasurer New York, New York Amanda Maria Edmonds, Research Committee Chair Ypsilanti, Michigan Martha Egnal, Youth Subcommittee Co-Chair Silver City, New Mexico Rebecca Ferguson, Advocacy Committee Chair Brooklyn, New York Cheryl Foster, Youth Subcommittee Co-Chair Columbus, Ohio Anne Gachuhi Hoffman Estates, Illinois Shandal Grayson, Social Justice Committee Chair Boston, Massachusetts Gwenne Hayes-Stewart, Secretary St. Louis, Missouri David King, Membership Committee Chair Los Angeles, California Rory Klick, Development Committee Co-Chair Lake Villa, Illinois James Kuhns, President-Elect & Communications Chair Toronto, Ontario Don Lambert Dallas, Texas Charles Levkoe, Strategic Plan Ad Hoc Committee Chair Kennetcook, Nova Scotia Gerard Lordahl, President New York, New York Zazel Loven New York, New York Bill Maynard, Vice President Sacramento, California Keith Tidball, Garden Mosaics Subcommittee Chair Ithaca, New York Teague Weybright Los Angeles, California Daniel Winterbottom, Development Committee Co-Chair Seattle, Washington Ted Zerger, Nominations Committee Chair Salina, Kansas

ACGA President Gerard Lordahl provides gardening advice at Martha Stewart Event.

Organic Gardening & Aveeno Sponsor WaterWorks 2007

Lenny Librizzi of CENYC demonstrates a rainwater harvesting system. ACGA is teaming with Organic Gardening & Aveeno to develop rain water harvesting demonstration programs in 5 cities in 2007.



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National Summit on Garden Policy – Gardens for All: People, Plants and Policy: A Who’s Who in the Gardening World
by Rory Klick, Lake Villa, Illinois
September 7-8, I attended the 2006 National Summit on Garden Policy at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Professor Neil Hamilton of Drake University Law School and president of the National Gardening Association was the driving force behind the event. Leading experts in the country spoke on a wide range of topics, from school gardening and wellness to public policy and the future of gardening in America. what his organization is doing to preserve and grow our heirloom seeds. Christine Flanagan of the U.S. Botanic Garden discussed reclaiming environmental connections, and the role botanic gardens play in educating the public about the value of plants. Kimberly Winter from the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign reminded us about the fundamental link of pollinators to our gardens. Gardens can play a key role in helping save and preserve pollinators.

Day 1) Sessions began with several presentations on the power and potential of gardening. Charlie Nardozzi of The final sessions of the first day dealt with the role of NGA spoke on the big picture issues addressed by NGA’s gardening in America’s health and wellness. Joel Kimmons programs and how they are building corporate partnerships of the Centers for Disease Control’s Nutrition and Physical to reach people with the gardening message at all levels of Activity Division ran through some startling statistics: daily life. Catherine Sneed, founder of the Garden Project Bangladesh has a lower rate of malnutrition than the U.S., and only 10% of Americans meet the daily in San Francisco spoke eloquently on the fruit and vegetable consumption power of gardening to truly change people. The prison gardening effort that she began Why shouldn’t we have guidelines. The CDC is trying to obtain political lobbyists solid data on the impact of community 25 years ago has effected real change, with advocating for plants gardens and farmers’ markets on actual 75% of program participants not returning to prison once released, versus 34% not Rick Brooks from and the people-plant public health. returning for the traditional prison University of Wisconsin Extension showed connection? population. Lynn Fredericks from Les up still breathless, literally just having Dames d’Escoffier International’s Green Table Initiative arrived from Sri Lanka where he was researching the spoke about the transformation of young people through connections between food, community and sustainability. food, particularly growing food directly, and how it all He highlighted global thinking from his recent experiences, but mentioned Midwestern resources like the “Got Dirt” started for her as she cooked with her own children. and “Growing Gardens, Growing Minds” curricula. Mary On the topic of children’s gardening, California has set the Meyer, a member of the National Extension Master bar high. Rose Hayden-Smith from the University of Gardener Committee from the University of Minnesota, California Garden-based Learning Workgroup provided an talked about the role and value of Master Gardeners to local overview of California’s “Garden in Every School Initiative” gardening efforts. The first day concluded with a visit to a launched in 1995, and how the effort has evolved to have an local school garden at the Martin Luther King Science inclusive and integrated message about food systems. Magnet School and a reception at the Meredith Corporation, Approximately 35% of CA schools now have a garden. publishers of numerous gardening magazines and books. Janet Brown of the Center for Ecoliteracy then followed up on the theme and talked about the integration of school Day 2) Our second day began with a brief address from food and wellness, and how the nutrition education and Sally Pederson, the Lieutenant Governor of Iowa, who physical activity requirements of the new federal wellness thanked everyone for coming to Iowa and reminded us that policies are being addressed through school gardens. Chef good public policy depends on community input. Then, Kurt Friese from Slow Food USA in Iowa discussed ACGA’s Executive Director, Betsy Johnson. provided an celebrating food at the local level and changing our whole overview of community gardening. Unglamorous issues like American perspective on food. John Ellison from The liability insurance, water and utilities, soil testing and taxes Eden Project in Cornwall, UK, introduced us to the are often critical challenges for community gardening sites, “Tinkerbell Theory,” if you get enough people to believe in and land trusts can provide the legal entity to address these matters. Teva Dawson from Des Moines Parks and the magic, it will work! Recreation talked about how her work as Neil Hamilton’s After a locally grown/produced lunch, the keynote speaker student grew into an actual position with the parks was Will Raap, founder and chair of Gardener’s Supply and department. Des Moines has evolved a municipal program Intervale Foundation in Burlington, VT. Afternoon sessions that supports community gardening. addressed gardening and biodiversity. Kent Whealy from (Continued on page 9) the Seed Savers Exchange talked about genetic erosion, and




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(Continued from Page 8)

Cathy Wilkinson-Barash of the Garden Writers Association Foundation presented on the “Plant-a-Row” program and how much food they are raising nationally for donation. Steve Davies from the Project for Public Spaces presented tools and resources for creating public spaces.

The next series of presenters, moderated by Dan Stark of the American Public Garden Association, spoke on public policy. Dan asked who is speaking for the plants, and said it seemed appropriate for APGA to look more closely at their role in plant advocacy. Ashley Atkinson from the Detroit Agricultural Network highlighted the education and connections among community gardeners in very lowincome, challenged neighborhoods. Their recent successes included City of Now to garden myself is not By this point, after two days of major presenters and incredible information, I Detroit policy wording that enough… felt like the old Far Side cartoon where acknowledged community gardens and Everyone should have the student is raising his hand to be sustainable agriculture as part of the access to healthy food. excused because his brain is full. The City’s official open space designation. Everyone should understand entire two days concluded with an open Steve Cohen from the Office of discussion by all speakers and attendees and experience the Sustainable Development, Food Policy fundamental connection to on the principles of garden policy, and and Programs in Portland Oregon presented the work that earned the earth that growing food what we as a collective of various Portland the designation of the and gardening represent. agencies, organizations and companies need to say to policy makers. Neil “Diggable City,” or the most Hamilton provided an initial draft of sustainable city in the U.S. He outlined the research, ten principles of garden policy for feedback. From the policies and programs that make urban agriculture a priority and provide city-owned land for local residents to grow resultant discussion five major headings emerged on what food. Michael Berkshire from the City of Chicago was now page 26 of my notes: Education, Land Use, Department provided examples of sustainable city policy Government, Health & Wellness, and Media. with their greenroofs, green permitting, green urban design When I pause now some two months later to consider the and all kinds of practical economic incentives to make sure summit, I think we must honestly acknowledge that politics developers went green – all with strong support from matter. Presenting an informed, organized voice to policy Mayor Daley. makers at the local, state and federal level is essential for Our keynote speaker at Friday’s lunch was Theresa gardening and gardeners. Why shouldn’t ACGA, NGA, Marquez, Chief Marketing Executive from Organic Valley APGA and so on have political clout? Why shouldn’t we Farms. She discussed how gardening has influenced have political lobbyists advocating for plants and the organics. While the growing public awareness of choosing people-plant connection? Oil companies have political healthier foods has helped build their company, it still connections, drug companies have lobbyists, why not us? comes down to the company having a network of gardeners Before I became a professional horticulturist, long before I who care about what they grow. became a board member of ACGA, I was simply a The final series of speakers tackled the future of gardening gardener. Now to garden myself is not enough. I have in American society, with TV celebrity Rebecca Kolls become an educator and advocate, teaching and presenting moderating. She cautioned us about semantics, saying that on behalf of my beliefs and passions. Everyone should “gardening” is perceived as old and fuddy-duddy, but have access to healthy food. Everyone should understand design is hot. If we think in terms of green design or and experience the fundamental connection to the earth landscape design, then gardens become more marketable. that growing food and gardening represent. Advancing Echoing this, Dr. Bruce Butterfield of NGA presented the these tenets means getting smart about how to use and latest statistics from NGA’s national gardening survey, influence the political system. Bravo to Neil Hamilton including that while 110 million households in the U.S. do for organizing this incredible group of folks. And here’s to some type of lawn and gardening activity, only 25% grow the results leading to the next level of research, action and food. Doug Jimerson, editor-in-chief of Better Homes and policy.

Gardens Special Interest Publications talked about the perceptions of gardening media. Meredith’s reader feedback also shows that while people are spending more time in the garden, they are doing less. While there is a slow move toward more organic practices, most know little about basic horticulture and are hungry for information, especially since our big box store facilities provide little expertise with their products. Suzy Bales, author and senior gardening editor for Better Homes and Gardens talked about the American obsession with green lawns, contrasted to Canada’s movement in several major cities to actually ban pesticide use on ornamental plantings. She called for a paradigm shift where we connect sustainable gardening practices to public and environmental health.



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Seeking Weed Watch Participants ACGA Partners with Weed Science Society of America
ACGA is partnering with the Weed Science Society of America to expand participation in the Garden Mosaics Weed Watch program. We are seeking community garden programs to conduct Weed Watch, particularly with youth. Weed Watch can be used as an educational activity for youth and students in rural or urban, vegetable or flower gardens. It provides an opportunity for students to apply many topics they learn in science classes, including classifying and identifying organisms, taking measurements, and Weeds are plants growing testing hypotheses. where they are not Weeds are one of the most frustrating problems gardeners face. Through the wanted. Weeds are a big Weed Watch i·m·science investigation, participants collect important data about weeds problem for gardeners and weed control methods. You then submit your data using the online Weed because they compete with Watch Forms, where it is used by Cornell scientist Antonio DiTommaso and his crops for light, water, colleagues to develop ways to control weeds in gardens. Participants also gain a space, and nutrients. better appreciation for the beauty and diversity of these often-times pesky plants. Garden Mosaic Weed Scientist, Dr. Antonio DiTommaso, is a professor of weed science in the Department of Crops and Soil Sciences at Cornell University. He helps farmers with their weed problems and hopes to be able to help urban gardeners control weeds in the future. But first he needs to learn more about vegetable garden weeds in cities. You can help Dr. DiTommaso by taking measurement of weeds in urban gardens. In addition to Dr. DiTommaso, other weed scientists from throughout the U.S. and Canada want to volunteer with local community garden programs to help educate gardeners and Weed Watch participants about weeds. Weed Watch first involves becoming familiar with common weeds. A WSSA scientist in your area will help with this. The basic Weed Watch steps are: 1) Background research — this is where WSSA can help 2) Gather information — measuring weeds on a regular basis in a specified area of a community garden 3) Record the information — complete three Weed Watch Data Forms 4) Enter the data — onto the online Garden Mosaics Weed Watch database. Instructional materials for Weed Watch are found at :
Weed Resources
Garden Mosaics Science Pages: includes fact sheets on seven common weeds. Available in English and Spanish Weed Identification, Biology and Management CD ordered at Weed Science Society of America

For more information about participating in the ACGA/WSSA Weed Watch Initiative, email or call 877-275-2242.



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(Continued from page 1) agreement proposed that the community garden parcel be transferred from B.E.D., which is owned by the city, to the Intervale Center, which is a private nonprofit organization. And while the draft agreement included the garden’s existing lease, a proposed clause would allow the community garden to be relocated when the lease expired in 2015. For many of the gardeners at the Tommy Thompson site, this would prove to be a crucial negotiating point.

stakeholders. Mayor Bob Kiss, himself a long term Tommy Thompson community gardener, proposed a compromise. Kiss suggested a permanent easement allowing the garden to be included in the land sale, but with continued management by Burlington Parks and Recreation, which has overseen the community garden program since 1987. During the public hearing process, the agreement was further strengthened. On October 23, by a vote of 7 to 6, the City Council passed a resolution approving the land sale. The final draft included a perpetual easement protecting the Tommy Thompson Community Garden in its existing location, a clause allowing future expansion of the garden in response to public needs, and provisions that surrounding fields and wetlands would be conserved forever.

In July, a resolution to approve the land sale came before the Burlington City Council and was wisely tabled for discussion. During the next four months, a vigorous debate played itself out in the news media and before the City Council. At public hearings, community members discussed whether it was better to maintain the land in city ownership Now that a legal mechanism is in place to protect the land, with the protection of a long term lease, or sell the 199 it’s up to Burlington’s gardeners and farmers to honor the acres of land to the Intervale Center for $200,000, a price legacy of Tommy Thompson by continuing to invest their questioned by several residents. hearts and hard work into maintaining and sustaining the When an August 6 Burlington Free Press story, “Dissent Intervale for present and future generations. Grows in the Intervale,” expressed the concerns of For more information about community gardening in Burlington and community gardeners about the proposed land sale, city across Vermont, please visit officials realized that the gardeners were important

Magazines and More to Check Out
ACGA welcomes another partner publication: Touch the Soil. Publisher Ben Gisin has asked ACGA to submit a column for each issue. ACGA Operations Administrator Lexie Stoia’s first piece, “The New Town Commons” was in the November/December 2006 issue. Another article in the issue, “The Community is Gardening” featured Leslie Pohl-Kosbau and the Portland Community Gardens. Lexie’s second piece on the pre World War community gardens in the U.S. will be in the January/February issue.

Touch the Soil

Check out the November/December 2006 issue. The entire issue is about Green Cuisine. “Produce to the People” by Constance Matthiessen and Anne Hamersky features the Fresno community gardens. The articles can be viewed at


At least one community garden is featured in each issue. In the December 2006/January 2007 issue, four school gardens in Osceola County, Florida are the focus of a Free Downloadable Book research project by Dr. Arthur Agatston. He wanted to For Hunger-Proof Cities: Sustainable Urban Food Systems study how to help elementary schools serve more nutritious school lunches and how to teach students about healthy living. For more information about the study, contact Danielle Hollar at Free Downloadable Game Teach children (and adults) about world hunger. Thanks to Rodale’s Organic Gardening if you JOIN or Download the Food Force Game from the United Nations RENEW with ACGA, you will receive a one year World Food Programme. subscription to Organic Gardening magazine as part of your annual ACGA membership fee.

Organic Gardening

Have you read or seen Fast Food Nation? Three online videos help educate consumers about our predominant meat and poultry industry. In addition to the videos, check out The Eat Well guide.

Meatrix 2.5 Now Online



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During this holiday season, consider giving a donation in honor of a family member or friend. You will receive a colorful card to give to that person. For donations of $25 or more, they will receive a one-year subscription of Organic Gardening magazine. Donate online at or send a check to ACGA, c/o FPC, 1777 East Broad St. Columbus, OH 43203.

A donation in your honor has been made to the

American Community Gardening Association
whose mission is to build community by increasing and enhancing community gardening and greening across the United States and Canada

American Community Gardening Association c/o FPC, 1777 East Broad Street Columbus, OH 43203

To join or renew with ACGA, go to

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