Thursday, December 30, 2010

Bringing in the New Year

As 2010 slips into my rear veiw mirror I cannot help but revisit all of Unity Gardens successes , and shortcomings in 2010 . With that information we can look forward and plan for 2011 .

I can honestly say that 2010 turned out better than we ever imagined . At this point we are in all new territory , and learning on the fly . The growth was amazing . from 1 garden in 2008 to 34 in 2010 . But the downside was we were a little stretched , and may have not supported the gardens as well as we should have . We were not able to put signs up on all the gardens. We did a few fundraisers which were successful , but not to the degree we need to sustain Unity Gardens long term. Our plans to do educational events fell short . While we did some it was not enough . We increased the amount of volunteers helping , but we need more . On the upside we grew huge amounts of food , brought folks from inside their homes out into the garden, we educated people in the garden , raised awareness , and developed a plan for 2011 .

What's up for 2011 . Learning from our 2010 season we are starting off the year with a series of classes on how to grow a vegetable garden . Classes will be held at the Potawatomi Conservatories , and at the LaSalle branch library staring in January . We also are planning a Summer series on healthy cooking habits, and a fall series on harvesting , and saving food . In 2011 we will have 2 school gardens . We are adding a educational Isle at the LaSalle Square Unity Garden funded by PNC Bank , and the Greenhouse Garden is setting up a educational composting area showcasing different ways to compost .

We put up a shaded shelter at LaSalle Square , and the 1/2 mile walking path is in progress .

Several gardens will be getting , benches , and picnic tables , and all gardens will be receiving Unity Gardens Signs .

Some creative ideas are being tossed around for better fund raisers .

Bike Ride for Unity , Raffles , a Unity Dinner , Luau , Plant Sale , PayPal donate button on the blog , and several other ideas . I am learning that non-profits are always fighting the battle with having enough operating funds. Hopefully it will get easier.

In January we will be painting signs for all the gardens, and will start installing them in April .

We will be working harder to be more efficient in our growing methods, and work hard early to get more volunteers into the gardens.
I am excited for a new season of growing to begin

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