Backyard Gardening Organization - Feasibility Study Meetup

*Original meetup from Pittsburgh Entrepreneurs' Meetup; since their meetup is apparently open to all Meetup members, I'm piggy-backing on theirs as a chance to gather people to talk about social entrepreneurship, which certainly falls under their umbrella.

Jan 22, Tues, 7pm; The Revv. 122 Meyran Avenue, Oakland

I'm compiling a list of people who want to start a garden in their backyards (or workspace, or friend's backyard, at church, or any green space) but have not yet done so (lacking the knowledge, time, people, or energy). This list I'll share with a select group of gardeners, so that something like a Grow Food Party Crew--a larger, informal group of people of varying levels of gardening knowledge. We HAVE done this before, as in the Digging & Starting Bloomfield Garden Meetup, and the picture above--andwe finished that garden.

If people are interested, RSVP, comment, AND THEN contact me personally if you want to suggest a particular place you want to get some help planting a garden in, and what specifically you'd want there. That's no guarantee you'll get a garden, but at least you'll be on your way to being put into a list of people who WANT to start gardens. Obviously people with some existing gardening resources (tools, plants, seeds, money, expertise etc) are going to get prioritized, but that doesn't automatically exclude others.

 

On January 7th I sent this email to those who RSVP'd that significantly changes up the tone of the event and proposes a first meeting, reflected in the time and date's solidification:

There are some possible monthly meetup dates below, to talk about doing a feasibility study & more for a Grow Food Party Crew-esque social enterprise (and to talk about other social enterprise). For example, we could meet monthly, 7pm 4th Tuesdays at the Revv (as part of their open Entrepreneurs' Meetup), and also 1st Sundays, 2pm, Squirrel Hill Library. You said you were interested in the Grow Food Party Crew, is why you're getting this. Let me know if you're still interested, what times would work for you, and whatever other thoughts you have. ;) Such as answers to the questions that are also below:

 

Some questions that might lead to more gardens in more back yards (and maybe money!):

What are you willing to give to have a garden in your backyard? A one-day feast? Your own time? Money? Would any of those things inspire others to give you their time, labor, and expertise? What if they were learning how to build a garden by helping to build a garden at your place, directed by experienced gardeners? Might they pay for that experience? How would we compensate the people with expertise? Is that easier than paying everyone who's gardening? Does that make up for the fact that many of these gardeners will be inexperienced? Can it sustain financially without burning anyone out?

John Creasy of Garfield Farms told me over coffee there mightbe grant money in this, such as fromTRCF. I think we might find a social enterprisesocial businesses, non-loss nonprofit, or timebanks, or some other organization, in the answers to the questions above. Thus, I propose we start a series of meetups to see who's interested in doing feasibility studies, interviews, or even formal business planning for enterprises like this Grow Food Party Crew. And maybe the meetup could be about other social enterprises as well. Maybe we could do some pilots this Spring (and maybe that could be in your garden, so long as you've got something to give in exchange to the people who are doing the work for ya).

 

Possible monthly meeting dates, Squirrel Hill Library:

  • 1st Sat past 12pm
  • 1st Sun all open hours
  • 2nd Sat past 2pm
  • 2nd Sun between 1-3pm
  • 3rd Sat past 12pm
  • 4th Sat 12pm-2pm

 

4th Tues. 7pm, Oakland, The Revv Entrepreneurs' Meetup

http://www.meetup.com/pittsburghentrepreneur/events/91330022/

Pretty swank place. Entrepreneurial incubator space, is what it is. 30-50 people attend each, apparently.

 

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  • Justin T.

    Followup from last meetup:

    We didn't get to talk too much because the format of the meeting was out of our hands (60-70 people at the regular Entrepreneurs' Meetup didn't help either, there was so much interesting conversation to be had!), but the People's Garden folks laid out some of what they're doing with themselves (just gardening in and amongst friends' backyards, together). They're based out of the Free School crowd: I don't know how entrepreneurial they are or how organizationally capable yet, either--they seem rather un-capitalistic--but they're starting small anyway.

    Two meetups at which we can plan further: I'll be at these, and I'll be up for discussing the aftermath of the last meeting and plans moving forward:

    The 5th annual planning meeting: http://www.meetup.com/Pittsburg...­

    The new regular Social Entrepreneurs' Meetup + TPGH projects meetup which I set up just recently:

    http://www.meetup.com/transitio...­

    February 3, 2013

  • Justin T.

    Followup from last meetup:

    We didn't get to talk too much because the format of the meeting was out of our hands (60-70 people at the regular Entrepreneurs' Meetup didn't help either, there was so much interesting conversation to be had!), but the People's Garden folks laid out some of what they're doing with themselves (just gardening in and amongst friends' backyards, together). They're based out of the Free School crowd: I don't know how entrepreneurial they are or how organizationally capable yet, either--they seem rather un-capitalistic--but they're starting small anyway. Two meetups at which we can plan further: I'll be at these, and I'll be up for discussing the aftermath of the last meeting and plans moving forward:

    The 5th annual planning meeting: http://www.meetup.com/Pittsburg...­

    The new regular Social Entrepreneurs' Meetup + TPGH projects meetup which I set up recently:

    http://www.meetup.com/transitio...­

    February 3, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Missed my first meetup hope to see and make the next meetup

    January 23, 2013

  • Justin T.

    Just need to confirm the next meetup: http://www.meetup.com/transitio...­

    January 23, 2013

  • Justin T.

    There were like 50 people there for the Entrepreneurs' meetup, and maybe 6-7 on our end. It was definitely useful, though, as Sarah, Kyle, Scott, Tricia, Brennan and I (and a few others who may have dropped in on the conversation) had a good conversation based on what Sarah Baxendell & co are doing with the People's Garden. More to come.

    January 23, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I think I'm coming down with a cold; I probably won't make it tonight. For future meetings, Saturday and Sunday are good. Sundays are usually better for me.

    January 22, 2013

  • Heather G.

    I want very badly to attend but am working that evening and cannot switch. Is there a way I can get notes or handouts? And, could I attend future meetings even though I am missing the first one?

    January 21, 2013

    • Justin T.

      Will be soon. Can you make Saturday or Sunday afternoons? I'm narrowing down dates with the Sq. Hill Library.

      January 22, 2013

    • maryanne a.

      sat or sunday will be great at the library weather permitting. do they have parking meeters or is there free parking? maryanne

      January 22, 2013

  • Jason P.

    Hi all, my block in Squirrel Hill has big flooding problems and I've been thinking about a rain garden to help handle it-- would love some help from people with some experience on these. I'm also happy to help others with their garden projects!

    October 29, 2012

    • Justin T.

      You messaged saying this was maybe too involved for you; that's valuable information, still. Do need to know what's too involved for people. Maybe you can help us figure out a way to still involve you in a less involved way.

      January 22, 2013

  • Justin T.

    All,

    You'll see me tomorrow at 7pm at the Revv in an olive/greyish coat and black pants. I am tall and look vaguely minority-ish.

    Hope you can make it. We should have more of these soon, in any case.


    Best,
    Justin

    January 22, 2013

  • ashish s.

    i have no gardening knowledge , but am happy to assist anyone who is doing it.

    December 28, 2012

  • Carrie G.

    I am starting over with a new house and would like to start a garden. I have a bad back and its hard for me to dig. I am getting inspired by this site though, and maybe I should start raised beds and haybale gardening. I live in Plum.

    December 9, 2012

  • Justin T.

    Hey all, just posting a status update on this. I tried to get one more of these going, for a friend, back in October; that didn't work out, unfortunately. Still intend to do stuff in the Spring, and I'll be starting to compile the list around January, probably, in order to start thinking about seed-saving. I'll send around a mass opt-in email about it around that time, to see who's still interested. Note that those who have the money and resources to get seeds/seedlings will be given higher priority--just gotta do everything possible to make this easier on those who are doing the hard labor. Inexperienced gardeners coupled with a few more experienced gardeners is what you're likely to get, I'm finding, so far. Meaning that those who have a design for their garden in mind, and need more experienced laborers for it, should take note...

    Anyway, more in months to come.

    October 31, 2012

  • Susan Lisa W.

    I purchased a house in Greenfield last year, which has a tiered lot- (victory gardens) was the rumor the Realtor gave me :) I am a hobby gardener- but would love to explore options for a community garden which would benefit my family and my community...

    October 1, 2012

  • Ruth M.

    Wow! I have been trying to get a garden started in a lot on my street for years, but haven't had the time or muscle to really get it established. I planted a few tomatoes and peppers there this year, but they were quickly overrun with weeds and mowed down by deer! I am a single mom and lack the resources to make my vision for this space a reality. It is a beautiful site and the soil tested clean. I have experience gardening and lots of good seed saved, but just need some help getting the space ready. Having a garden making party is my dream!

    September 19, 2012

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