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SFG at Homeless Shelter - how to approach Toplef10SFG at Homeless Shelter - how to approach 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

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SFG at Homeless Shelter - how to approach

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AvaDGardner
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Post  sfg4uKim 4/1/2012, 7:39 pm

How does one start a SFG at a homeless shelter?

I briefly discussed this notion with the volunteer coordinator and he was really enthused and wants to discuss it with the director. LOL guess I'll learn to keep my mouth shut one of these days.

LOL I have NO CLUE what this will entail. We would need to raise funds for the project (which I will leave up to their "professionals"). But I'd like everyone's help because all the other "projects" I've worked on, I'v only been a "helper".

What factors do I need to take into consideration?

They already have the property and I know I can get volunteers from churches and some of the residents to help with the labor (and maybe some of the funding).

There are three resident facilities (I don't have ANY details on how big they are or how many residents in each).

I was looking over info at communitygarden.org, but it didn't seem to "work" for this situation.

I also tried searching "how to start a garden at a homeless shelter" and found THIS. It seems TOO involved.

Has anyone here done anything like this? If so, can you offer me some guidance?

Thanks,
Kim

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SFG at Homeless Shelter - how to approach WxBanner?bannertype=wu_blueglass&airportcode=KBWI&ForcedCity=Glen%20Burnie&ForcedState=MD&zipcode=21060&language=EN
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Post  camprn 4/1/2012, 8:21 pm

In my small town there are 3 different shelters. One for men, one for men with substance abuse issues and one for women and children often, but not always fleeing abusive situations. If I were to do a garden for these groups, the teaching approach and understanding of the residents would be different. I would suggest to meet with the director AND the volunteer coordinator and find out from them how they would approach generating special revenue and specific volunteers. They probably have the problem half worked out through their network of who they know. There may even be residents that have valuable skills in gardening or farming.
A good service project.

Do you have a college in town?

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Post  sfg4uKim 4/1/2012, 9:28 pm

There is a satellite community college in town. I have an advantage in that I teach SFG at the main campus about 20 minutes away.

This organization is WELL supported by local churches and businesses and already has a GREAT network.

IMPLEMENTING the project doesn't really bother me, I'm more concerned with convincing them there's a NEED for it. Rather that it will be BENEFICIAL to them (lower their food bill in the short term and eventually could be a money maker - selling veggies & flowers at farmer's market, restaurants, etc.).

LOL I need to focus. My ADHD is showing! bounce bounce bounce

Thankfully this won't move quickly enough for THIS season which is OK since I've got that school project coming up this month.


Last edited by sfg4uKim on 4/1/2012, 9:28 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : grammar)

____________________________

I have seen women looking at jewelry ads with a misty eye and one hand resting on the heart, and I only know what they're feeling because that's how I read the seed catalogs in January - Barbara Kingsolver - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle


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SFG at Homeless Shelter - how to approach WxBanner?bannertype=wu_blueglass&airportcode=KBWI&ForcedCity=Glen%20Burnie&ForcedState=MD&zipcode=21060&language=EN
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Post  shannon1 4/2/2012, 2:56 am

Kim you are a kindhearted person with a just goal and I see it happening. I trust it will be a snap to convince them of the benefit aa SFG will have. Good luck.
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Post  rowena___. 4/2/2012, 10:41 am

kim, as you know i do a lot of this kind of work. in places were there is little support, you often have to start really slowly. don't give them the big picture--give them something they can get a handle on today. one box, well tended and clearly productive, will do more to convince the stragglers than anything you can say in advance.

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Post  Pam Nix 4/2/2012, 11:06 am

Columbia SC has a great group of SFG'ers working with the homeless community. They've also involved the local government. Mel and Victoria were just there with them last weekend. Gardening Renaissance on Facebook has pics of some of their projects and I'm sure Stephen gardenren@yahoo.com would love to share some of what he has learned in his local projects.
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Post  sfg4uKim 4/2/2012, 1:36 pm

LOL I have an idea for anyone who is planning something like this . . . keep a journal of the process from start to finish ! It will help someone down the road. Very Happy Very Happy

____________________________

I have seen women looking at jewelry ads with a misty eye and one hand resting on the heart, and I only know what they're feeling because that's how I read the seed catalogs in January - Barbara Kingsolver - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle


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SFG at Homeless Shelter - how to approach WxBanner?bannertype=wu_blueglass&airportcode=KBWI&ForcedCity=Glen%20Burnie&ForcedState=MD&zipcode=21060&language=EN
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Post  sfg4uKim 4/2/2012, 3:02 pm

rowena___. wrote:kim, as you know i do a lot of this kind of work. in places were there is little support, you often have to start really slowly. don't give them the big picture--give them something they can get a handle on today. one box, well tended and clearly productive, will do more to convince the stragglers than anything you can say in advance.


Thanks for this reminder about starting slowly. The director just emailed me and is going to present the idea to the staff. Thankfully I got your message about starting slowly. I suggested putting in one bed this year to let them see how it works.

I've got a 2x2 ground box they can use, I'll give them the mix & I've even got some transplants that are ready to go - tomato, cabbage, snap peas & maybe an herb or flower.

____________________________

I have seen women looking at jewelry ads with a misty eye and one hand resting on the heart, and I only know what they're feeling because that's how I read the seed catalogs in January - Barbara Kingsolver - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle


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SFG at Homeless Shelter - how to approach WxBanner?bannertype=wu_blueglass&airportcode=KBWI&ForcedCity=Glen%20Burnie&ForcedState=MD&zipcode=21060&language=EN
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Post  AvaDGardner 4/9/2012, 4:49 pm

Talk to the head kitchen coordinator and see what they would like to have 'fresh.'

I was surprised by the resistance of the dietician at the nursing home. So we switched to flowers. And cherry tomatoes that the residents can pull and eat!
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Post  Gena575 4/9/2012, 5:06 pm

As far as convincing of need, don't forget the aspect of therapy involved in gardening, feelings of productivity, nurturing and control in an out of control situation.

Some things you may not have thought of. Be prepared for sabotages. There will be people living in the facility that want to mess stuff up for other people. It happens. Learn to roll with it as best you can. Be prepared to be scoffed at and told you're an idiot. There will also be residents who will hoard harvests. I've helped in the past with some veggie plants at an assisted living center...it is a challenge, but it is also very rewarding. Having some sort of back up plan for when things go wrong will help win over the hearts of those in charge.


Last edited by Gena575 on 4/9/2012, 5:07 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Changed wording...)
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Post  Gena575 4/9/2012, 5:08 pm

AvaDGardner wrote:Talk to the head kitchen coordinator and see what they would like to have 'fresh.'

I was surprised by the resistance of the dietician at the nursing home. So we switched to flowers. And cherry tomatoes that the residents can pull and eat!

There are so many rules when you are feeding residents and sometimes it is easier to say "no" than figure out what is allowed and what isn't. Sad, huh?
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Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut 4/9/2012, 5:57 pm

Gena575 wrote:
AvaDGardner wrote:Talk to the head kitchen coordinator and see what they would like to have 'fresh.'

I was surprised by the resistance of the dietician at the nursing home. So we switched to flowers. And cherry tomatoes that the residents can pull and eat!

There are so many rules when you are feeding residents and sometimes it is easier to say "no" than figure out what is allowed and what isn't. Sad, huh?

Gena - I was thinking the same thing. The legal aspect. The dietitian can't control what is being grown in the garden and how. In addition, he/she may need certification and insurance from any food provider. He/she is most likely feeding people who already have weakened immune systems. If the residents eat something themselves (like the tomatoes), they elect to eat it, it isn't "fed" to them for their meal. I'm surprised he/she even allowed that given the legal issues that it seems like everyone faces these days.
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Post  AvaDGardner 4/10/2012, 10:50 pm

The dietician didn't bring up legal aspects at all for the nursing home. Her thoughts were about supply.

That's why "ask what they would like 'fresh.'" Maybe its herbs. Maybe its tomatoes. Maybe it's nothing.

They'll let you know.

Ask!
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Post  rowena___. 4/14/2012, 1:18 pm

how is this coming along, kim?
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Post  sfg4uKim 4/14/2012, 2:28 pm

I haven't heard back from them. They are just getting done with their Winter Relief (where a bunch of churches in the area take turns hosting the homeless that they are unable to fit into their residences. Last Saturday they sponsored a resource day for the homeless, so I was giving them a chance to wind down from these two MASSIVE undertakings.

____________________________

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SFG at Homeless Shelter - how to approach WxBanner?bannertype=wu_blueglass&airportcode=KBWI&ForcedCity=Glen%20Burnie&ForcedState=MD&zipcode=21060&language=EN
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Post  sfg4uKim 4/20/2012, 6:09 pm

YAY! I've been contacted by a gal who is in charge of SIX residence facilities (LOL I thought there were only three). She said that several of the residents LOVE to cook. She also says there are a few who are disabled who need "something to keep them busy". I'm suggesting table tops. LOL maybe if they need to keep busy I should do an old-fashioned row garden so they can hoe, etc.

____________________________

I have seen women looking at jewelry ads with a misty eye and one hand resting on the heart, and I only know what they're feeling because that's how I read the seed catalogs in January - Barbara Kingsolver - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle


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SFG at Homeless Shelter - how to approach WxBanner?bannertype=wu_blueglass&airportcode=KBWI&ForcedCity=Glen%20Burnie&ForcedState=MD&zipcode=21060&language=EN
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Post  Gena575 4/20/2012, 6:11 pm

That's so awesome! I hope it goes flawlessly! I've been watching for an update...keep updating, please!!
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Post  sfg4uKim 4/24/2012, 5:47 pm

Things are moving right along. I met with one of the residence supervisors who is in charge of 6 men's and 2 women's houses. I gave her everything she needed for a 2x2 (including a book and even a tomato transplant & seeds) so she can play with it there at the day center.

Next week we will meet with one of the residents who loves to cook to see what he wants to grow. This will allow me to see the orientation of the house, any barriers, shade, etc.

We're putting out a "wish list" of materials to see if we can get donations.

____________________________

I have seen women looking at jewelry ads with a misty eye and one hand resting on the heart, and I only know what they're feeling because that's how I read the seed catalogs in January - Barbara Kingsolver - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle


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SFG at Homeless Shelter - how to approach WxBanner?bannertype=wu_blueglass&airportcode=KBWI&ForcedCity=Glen%20Burnie&ForcedState=MD&zipcode=21060&language=EN
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Post  rowena___. 4/29/2012, 11:05 am

i'm just now catching up on this. i'm really excited for you! thank you for updating.
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Post  sfg4uKim 4/29/2012, 11:16 am

LOL this project is really taking off - and all I have to do is sit back & watch. If only ALL my projects were this easy.

The supervisor LOVES to garden and she is SOOOO enthusiastic about it. Her enthusiasm is contagious and now the main day center also wants a garden . . . AND she's already got a group ready to build the beds . . . AND she's figured out a way for them to PAY for the materials or solicit donations.

____________________________

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Post  Chopper 4/29/2012, 2:00 pm

sfg4uKim wrote:LOL this project is really taking off - and all I have to do is sit back & watch. If only ALL my projects were this easy.

The supervisor LOVES to garden and she is SOOOO enthusiastic about it. Her enthusiasm is contagious and now the main day center also wants a garden . . . AND she's already got a group ready to build the beds . . . AND she's figured out a way for them to PAY for the materials or solicit donations.

Wow. Very Happy
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Post  sfg4uKim 4/30/2012, 1:00 pm

The first 2x2 went in this morning! I didn't take pictures (to respect the residents' privacy), but I can tell you the two guys who helped me were excited . . . especially the "chef".

We will be putting in either (3) 4x4s or maybe even (2) 4x8s. There are only 5 guys at this residence and Chef says they don't eat a lot of veggies. They were VERY happy when they were told by the Case Manager that they'll be able to sell the excess.

I'm going to a couple places that sell transplants to see if I can get some "extras" - or buy 1 plant each instead of 4-packs.

____________________________

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Post  givvmistamps 4/30/2012, 2:42 pm

That's great! So exciting that these folks are getting really involved in this. I'd really love to see photos! Maybe you could snap photos when they're not working on it?
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Post  AvaDGardner 5/1/2012, 8:20 pm

Kim, what type of TT construction did you do?

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