Feb 26, 2020

What is a GardenLeader?

Garden Builds 2020

everyone deserves fresh produce

Garden Builds 2020

What is a GardenLeader?

If you are looking to get more involved with GardenWorks this year, we have many opportunities during Garden Build Season to get your skills working for the good of your neighbors!

Every year, we get questions about how to get more involved in The GardenWorks Project.  Whether you are a gardener, love the outdoors, or like to get your hands dirty, we have a role for you this spring!  We equip the community during the months of March and April to embark on a BIG PROJECT: building food gardens for families that need the nutrition and additional food supplements.  While we have many roles for this task from start to finish, we want to answer questions about what it means to be a GardenLeader.

So then...what is a GardenLeader?  A GardenLeader is the person in charge at the day of installation.  This person is someone who will help get the job done at the site, know the client prior to the day of installation, and be the point representative for GardenWorks.  The entire installation will take no more than 1 hour, and in order to achieve this goal, a team of 3-4 individuals will volunteer for each garden build.  In order to keep the process moving and ensuring we have successful, consistent builds for each household, we equip a GardenLeader for each build.

What is the goal for GardenWorks this year? The GardenWorks Project will install at least 105 gardens this spring, and because of the short growing season in our region (Zone 5B), we need to get to work as soon as possible. Between May 15-May 30, we will install every garden from start to finish. Much of the curriculum provided to families are timed based on the season and the succession planting that occurs throughout the growing season. Therefore, in order to ensure that our gardens all have a kale harvest at the same time, for example, we need to build all of our gardens at approximately the same timeframe.

Why do we need a GardenLeader?  A GardenLeader serves as the leader and point person for all questions. When questions arise by the client, we expect our leads to know how to answer them or how to contact staff to get the questions answered. The GardenLeader is also the guide and director of the tasks at hand on the morning of the installation. Finally, we ask our GardenLeaders to connect with the client beforehand to scope out the yard space and also ease any concerns the client may have prior to the build date.

How big is the commitment?  "Many hands make light work", and we are currently recruiting for enough leads so that each lead will be in charge of 3 builds. One training will be required prior to the build dates, as well as a "site visit" to each household.  We will place builds nearby, so all visits and GardenBuilds can be achieved in one morning (9am build, 1030am build, and 12noon build).  Best of all, GardenLeaders get to meet like-minded volunteers and participate more with clients in their role.

What kind of experience do you need?  While most of our GardenLeaders have gardening experience, it is NOT required to have gardening experience to be a leader. We seek individuals that engage well with others and enjoy the challenge of a leadership role.  

How do I sign up? If you are interested or have any questions, please email Amanda Bryant, Programs and Operations Manager at amanda.bryant@gardenworksproject.org.  

Here's a testimonial from Cindy, a GardenLeader from 2019!

I am very thankful I was told about an amazing organization called The GardenWorks Project!  This year, as a resident of Downers Grove, I wanted to serve within my community. As a non-for profit, The GardenWorks Project’s goal is to assist families that are food insecure. By identifying families in need from DuPage County, fresh vegetables are grown in these families’ personal space.  To see the look on the client’s faces while working side by side with them to set up a garden has been extremely rewarding. The vegetables they choose to grow are delivered by a team of volunteers. As we all work together to bring in the soil, compost and plants, the reward of building the garden bed becomes evident. The gardening knowledge of the volunteers is shared with the families to assure their success.  The opportunity to teach and help others in our community has been very rewarding. Empowering others to grow nutritious vegetables for themselves and their families has given me the capability of sharing my love of gardening. Helping people through The GardenWorks Project has been exceptionally gratifying. - Cindy