Successful community gardens, like the Edible Garden Project in California, have rules and responsibilities for their volunteers and participants. The Edible Garden Project, connected to a school, follows a lesson plan and always is mindful of tasks and outcomes for volunteers and students.
Here's how they line up the volunteer tasks:
• Divide the various tasks that need to be tackled on a volunteer work day.
• Tasks could include digging beds, planting, transplanting seedlings, harvesting, composting or watering.
• Develop volunteer roles including tool librarians, gardeners, and garden team supervisors
• The volunteer tool librarian duties include distributing the tools to the volunteer teams as well as cleaning and repairing the tools when necessary.
• The gardening team volunteers love to work in the garden. There can participate in task groups tackling watering, weeding, mowing, composting and grafting. The gardening teams of 6 to 8 people work under the direction of a volunteer team supervisor.
• The volunteer team supervisors are chosen for their flexible, not rigid, supervision style. Volunteer supervisors, in any group, have guiding principles, which are not meant to inhibit their volunteer leadership skills and initiative but should give the volunteer supervisors focus and help as required.
The guiding principles of volunteer gardening supervisors include:
• The supervisor can interrupt inappropriate conversations and behavior in a light and non-judgmental way.
• The supervisor can encourage refocusing on tasks when focus has been lost or misdirected.
• The supervisor is a model to other volunteers in terms of giving respectful attention to the volunteers and working on tasks in a focussed way.
• The supervisor assists the tool librarians to ensure that tools are returned clean and replaced at the end of the session.
• The supervisor encourages and rewards regular assistance in the garden.
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