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fund raising with Square Foot Gardening?

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fund raising with Square Foot Gardening?

Post  millernw on 6/10/2010, 1:10 pm

Hi all, I'm a brand new user of the forums, so if I'm in the wrong area I'm sorry. My wife and I are on our second year with SF gardening and LOVE IT! Last year was good but our chickens got into the boxes and had a hey day. This year I have chicken wire around it and I can't believe how well everything is doing!
Anyway, let me see if I can paint a picture of my idea without being too wordy. I work for our local government and went to a meeting at a local state minimum security prison where the inmates are taking master gardening classes and growing a garden for the town food pantry. They are very passionate about gardening - you should see the twinkle in their eye when they give a tour. Right now it's an old long bed garden but I'm hoping to introduce the square foot concept to them.
Here's the other thing. My wife and I are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia - we don't have trouble getting pregnant, we have two already, but we thought it was important to do and felt led to take part in the gift of adoption.
Since starting the adoption process I have had a huge burden to be more involved in helping with adoptions but have yet to find a way to get involved. There are well over 100 million orphans right now, and I can only adopt so many. Smile
An idea jumped into my head this morning while walking the DOC gardens. What if I started an Orphan Garden? That is, I would "sell" a 4x4 plot to the public (well, one box per person/family) and they get whatever grows in it (they would get to choose what goes in their box). I'm pretty sure I could get the DOC to help maintain the boxes through out the year so I would have plenty of help. I'm also thinking I could grow extra produce and sell in veggie stands, and possibly to stores/restaurants on a limited basis.
Any money made would go toward a fund to help local families with adoption. A sort of foundation run by some community leaders.
My questions to you - is this practical? What are some of the pitfalls I could run into? How do you think one would set something like this up? How much do you think I should charge for a "veggie box" (a 4x4 box)? Do you have any creative "out of the box" ideas for this sort of thing?

Any advice you can give would be a HUGE help! I have a real heart for adoption and a love for gardening - hopefully there's a way to combine the two. Smile

Thanks!
Nate

millernw

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Re: fund raising with Square Foot Gardening?

Post  Megan on 6/10/2010, 9:29 pm

What a fantastic idea! I presume "DOC" relates somehow to the prison or food pantry?

I am not sure what you should sell a 4x4 for. But... why don't you take it a step further, instead of setting a fixed price, establish your base cost and then AUCTION OFF 4x4s for your cause at various fundraisers? Silent auction or otherwise. Who knows, but maybe you could raise even more money that way. Think of added ways to spruce up the package, too. For example, it would cost nothing to email a few photos of garden progress to those who donate, over the season. It would also be awesome press for SFG.
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Re: fund raising with Square Foot Gardening?

Post  millernw on 6/10/2010, 9:40 pm

Hey! Those are awesome ideas!!! I really like the idea of auctioning the 4x4's off, I can't believe I never thought of that. Smile
Thanks!

Oh, BTW - DOC is short for "department of corrections".

Thanks again!
Nate

millernw

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Re: fund raising with Square Foot Gardening?

Post  Megan on 6/10/2010, 9:46 pm

Ah hah! Thanks. Should have guessed, but I have too many acronyms in my head. (Seriously.)

My mother is very involved in a Hospital Guild. They frequently auction off various things to raise money for the hospital, or to clothe needy children, etc. It works well. Hope your project is fruitful!

I am sure you can find other ways to make it interesting, too. Ask for seed donations. Check with your local extension office, maybe the people who donate over a certain amount can get a free lesson in canning or cooking or something like that? Or pair up with a local restaurant for a discount on a nice meal. Etc.

Best,
Megan
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Re: fund raising with Square Foot Gardening?

Post  jtwenting on 6/11/2010, 5:24 am

Be very careful. You would essentially be selling produce, which opens you to a whole host of regulatory oversight, licensing, etc. you have to adhere to.

Even if it's charitable, that's no excuse in most constituencies.

And if someone falls ill eating something you sold them, you could be set up for expensive littigation (especially in the US and UK where such things are a national passtime).

People get arrested for holding bakesales in support of church activities these days, growing food for sale without proper license???

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Re: fund raising with Square Foot Gardening?

Post  millernw on 6/11/2010, 7:13 am

Thanks for the word of warning jtwenting. I hadn't thought of that. I'll be sure to speak with our local health department before starting anything.

millernw

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Re: fund raising with Square Foot Gardening?

Post  milaneyjane on 6/11/2010, 11:10 am

It sounds like a CSA (community supported agriculture)---when you buy from one, you know that you are buying a risk and are guaranteed nothing. They are HUGE in our area. Instead of charging a set price you would be auctioning. I would talk to some area CSA's.
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Re: fund raising with Square Foot Gardening?

Post  aspiegardner on 6/11/2010, 7:24 pm

instead of having the boxes filled and growing, why not auction off the built boxes with a selection of seeds.

You could have local artists pros or just hobbyists paint them so they are more unique and bring in a higher bid.

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Re: fund raising with Square Foot Gardening?

Post  Megan on 6/11/2010, 9:09 pm

Okay, I think I was misunderstood. Sorry I didn't make myself clear enough! Very Happy

What I meant was, your inmates are already growing food for the food pantry, right? So auction off an "Adopt a Box," where someone donates money to support the materials / mix / seed / whatever else is needed for a box, which is then grown by the inmates in your already-existing process. Should not require any additional vetting / licensing, I should think?? And might allow you to expand your existing operation.
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