Viles Arboretum is excited to introduce our new Community Agriculture Program (CAP), scheduled to launch in 2024. After dedicated efforts over the past several years by our gardeners, we paused the community garden for 2023 and used the year to assess the program. Through careful research, planning, and collaboration, a clear blueprint has been developed, setting the stage for the program's relaunch.
There are two stages to re-launching this program: (1) Improved infrastructure and (2) redefined program goals and objectives. It will take a community effort to raise the $3,000 needed to launch CAP by 2024 and your support can make a world of difference. Every contribution, no matter the size, will help us lay the foundation for this transformative endeavor. Your donation will go directly towards building essential garden infrastructure, providing gardening tools and resources, and ensuring our educational programs can thrive.
The most significant challenge is to address the difficulties encountered by past gardeners, which were suboptimal soil quality, inadequate water availability, and disturbances caused by wildlife. After evaluating alternative locations within the Arboretum grounds, we have determined that the garden will continue to be situated in the field behind the visitor center. The reimagined garden site will incorporate the subsequent enhancements to its infrastructure:
- Incorporation of raised garden beds to facilitate enhanced soil conditions. This will also allow for better accessibility for all gardeners, regardless of their physical abilities.
- Installation of dedicated water lines to ensure more streamlined water access.
- Enclosure of the entire garden site with fencing, acting as an initial barrier against wildlife interference.
Subsequently, we worked with community partners to define our new program and create goals and objectives that will guide our efforts towards a more impactful and successful initiative. Our Community Agriculture Program will be a vibrant and inclusive space where individuals of all ages and backgrounds can come together to cultivate connections, learn sustainable gardening practices, and be empowered to grow their own food. As our gardens flourish, so does our community—strengthening bonds, promoting health, and cultivating a sense of shared responsibility for the environment. With every seed sown and every harvest reaped, we strive to create a greener, healthier, and more interconnected world for generations to come.
CAP will be guided by essential principles that form the foundation of our program's philosophy and drive its objectives:
- Community Engagement: We believe in the power of collaboration and shared responsibility. Through our garden, we aim to foster meaningful relationships among members, volunteers, and participants, creating a sense of belonging and mutual support within our community.
- Education and Empowerment: We are dedicated to providing accessible and practical education on gardening, sustainable agriculture, and environmental awareness. By offering workshops, demonstrations, and hands-on experiences, we empower individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to cultivate their own healthy, organic produce.
- Food Security: Through collaborative efforts with community partners, our program takes a proactive stance on addressing food insecurity. We work closely with local organizations to identify individuals and families who will benefit from participating and provide them the resources they need to have a successful garden.
- Inclusivity and Diversity: We celebrate the diversity of our community and embrace inclusivity in all aspects of our garden. Everyone is welcome, and we actively seek to create an environment that respects different perspectives, backgrounds, and abilities.