Saturday, 2 February 2013

Notes from the Edge

First of all, thanks to all the gardeners and community members who came out in the pouring rain to participate in our meeting. Here are the notes from the meeting.

Miranda started the meeting by giving a light history of The Rail Garden and how we started it. Turns out having a small committed group of individuals who all have different broad connections to the community is the best way to grow grassroots support!

Thanks to Paula Fletcher and Erica Woods for all their support in coordinating our critical meeting with city planners.

We have three new amazing committee volunteers who have joined our committee.  Marc Macguire, Jen Harris and Danielle Young. They have already brought new ideas and processes, it's great to get some new eyes and perspectives on our team.

We asked for feedback from attendees on the way we built and administered the garden last summer.  Feedback received included
  • that the work bees were a great way to meet neighbours that did not cross paths normally
  • activities for the kids were great - the art day, work bee activites
  • there could be better signage at the garden to facilitate communication with folks passing by, maybe better outreach to local school
  • perhaps we could use the city hoarding line (during construction) to put signage on
  • apply more rigour around the plot application process - specifically regarding what is considered access green space by applicants
There was special mention here for Carly Miranda for her amazing work with Roden and Equinox last year planting the community beds.

 We need to get more support managing the community beds throughout the summer. Since the City is resurfacing the Monarch Park Tunnel this year, community planting will be limited in scope so this will be a good year to try some of the suggestions by attendees:
  • getting gardener participation and ownership of the community beds - an assigned day per week to do garden management
  • develop signage about availability of produce in the community gardens for the broader community
Since we will be limited in what we can build this year until the City lets us know what their building schedule is we are looking for ideas of community events and organizers to maintain momentum around the garden
  •  movie nights
  • garden parties
Thanks to everyone for their great feedback on how we could better organize the supporters of The Rail Garden and translate that support in to volunteer staff at our community dinners.

Thanks to Mike, Dawn, Erica and Theresa for offering to support our efforts around sign translation this summer.  We will be reaching out to you on a regular basis as we develop better signs for the garden and for our events!

Thanks to Diane for volunteering to manage our phone tree, if you or someone you know would like to receive a phone call when we are running events please contact us at therailgarden (at) gmail (dot) com.

It was a great meeting with some productive conversation.  We are looking forward to a great year of programming and building on what we created in 2012!