To build your garden, you have to get word out and recruit people to get involved by sharing the story of your project through your social networks.
So you know of an open lot in your neighborhood that would be perfect for a community garden. You really, really want to build one, but you don't quite know how to pull it off. Let's be honest—the idea of pulling off a garden build can be pretty daunting. You need a lot of supplies, possibly some funds, and, ideally a bunch of people to help—unless you feel like devoting the next couple weekends to digging.
You've heard of barn raising, right? That old tradition of collective community action in which the whole community used to gather together to build a barn for their neighbor. At thrdPlace, a newly-launched local platform for social action, we're bringing it back by tapping online community to drive on the ground action. So, think barn raising and replace it with… community gardens, mural creation, or art pop-ups. We help get the word out and recruit people to get involved by sharing the story of your project through the social networks of each person who comes to your project page and clicks to support your project.
What does this look like in real time? This past weekend we helped the Social Justice Learning Institute, a local Los Angeles nonprofit "dedicated to improving the education, health, and well being of youth and communities of color by empowering them to enact social change through research, training, and community mobilization," to organize and execute 10 backyard gardens at South L.A. homes as part of their 10 Homes–10 Seeds initiative.
Over 80 community members came together to build 10 community gardens all within a couple hours on Saturday. D'Artagnan Scorza who leads SJLI and created the garden build initiative, shared his experience:
thrdPlace helps us involve and engage our residents in the process. It allows us to generate the type of resources needed by helping find volunteers, funds, and supplies. Not everyone in our community can always give dollars, but they may be able to come out and till the land; they may be able to bring out a shovel or two. What it ultimately does for us as an organization is facilitate resident empowerment. Residents can connect to each other, find projects, and raise the resources needed, to achieve their goals and pull together as a community to build what they need. As a result we're able to reach for projects that are larger in scope like pulling off 10 community garden builds in one day.\n
It's free to start your guerrilla garden—or any other project—on thrdPlace—just check out our video tutorial to get going. Start a project, and help us achieve our mission to create local movements of citizens working together to improve our shared communities, and transform that open lot in your neighborhood into a thriving garden that everyone can enjoy. Got questions? We’re here to help. Feel free to drop me a line. (Sherwood@thrdPlace.com) We would love to hear about your project and provide whatever support we can to make it happen.
This post is part of the GOOD community's 50 Building Blocks of Citizenship—weekly steps to being an active, engaged global citizen. This week: Plant a Guerrilla Garden. Follow along and join the conversation at good.is/citizenship and on Twitter at #goodcitizen.
Woody Moore is the vice president of marketing at thrdPlace.