[permaculture] Big win for school gardens ... What's next?!?

Olive Tree olivetrii at yahoo.com
Thu Mar 18 15:56:16 EDT 2010

Dear all school garden leaders and supporters,

Congratulations on a fantastic victory, and thanks for all your votes!

case you missed the news, early this week our friends at Change.org officially announced that we are WINNERS of the 2010 "Ideas for Change
in America" competition! Our idea, "Good Food For All Kids: A Garden at
Every School," gained over 4,000 votes and finished the contest in 7th
place. Along with the other Top 10 ideas, this means our idea will now
receive support from Change.org to become an actual grassroots national

On Tuesday this week, I participated in my first
conference phone call with directors of Change.org to begin mapping out
how the vision of Universal School Gardens can now be best transformed
into action. 

Here's what I learned. Basically, there are 3 specific ways that Change.org is offering to help:

First, Change.org will reach out directly to relevant decision-makers
in the United States government. Next week in Washington, DC I will
have my first meeting in person with the Political Director of
Change.org to begin defining our strategy for direct engagement with
officials in the White House, U.S. Congress, and Departments of
Agriculture and Education.

2) Second, Change.org will enable
their website to be used for targeted political activism in support of
our objective. For example, this could mean collecting petition
signatures to request that members of Congress include $100 million in
mandatory funding for school gardens in their next Farm Bill. Or it
could mean sending letters to a local government official encouraging
him to reverse a decision that effectively bans school gardens.
Fortunately, we have the option of doing multiple actions! I would love
to hear your ideas for any other kinds of actions that we could take.

Third, Change.org will feature a series of stories about school gardens
on their blog. These stories can be written either by the regular
Change.org editors or by guest writers -- such as me and you! Do you
have an idea for an interesting story about school gardens that you'd
like to see published? You can pitch your idea to me and the Change.org
team, and then if you're passionate and knowledgeable about the
subject, you can even write it yourself!

So now ... What's next?

immediately, I would really love to gain more feedback from grassroots
school garden and sustainable food leaders across the United States.

why next week we are going to facilitate a
follow-up conference call between myself, the Change.org team, and a
number of local leaders across the country who want to help build this
national campaign. 

If YOU are interested in joining this call
and adding your voice to the discussion, please RSVP with me by sending
me a message by email to schoolgardensacrossamerica at gmail.com. Please understand that this call
next week is open ONLY to individuals who are already active with
school gardens, youth leadership and/or sustainable food in your local
community. At a later time, we will certainly have other opportunities
for new leaders to get involved and share your voices too!

I want to acknowledge the ambitiousness of this campaign. If these 3
courses of action that I've outlined above are all that this campaign
succeeds at doing, that alone could be a huge benefit to the school
gardens movement. But I see no reason why we can't do even more! Can we
help extend school gardening networks to every state in the USA? Can we
start a national school garden teachers association? Can we present a
national challenge through which school districts would race each other
to be the first to achieve universal school gardens? 

really no limit to the possibilities of what we might achieve by
dreaming and working together! If you'd like to learn more about some
of the inspiring work on school gardens that many folks are already
doing, you're welcome to check out the "School Gardens Across America" Facebook group at http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/group.php?gid=323041926571&ref=mf

spring starts this year, I hope you're as excited as me about this
opportunity to sprout even more school gardens, and in the process more
deeply engage the next generations with the joys and challenges of sustainable agriculture. By being involved in your
local community to help increase the impact of school gardens, you can
ensure that this movement keeps growing (beyond
your computer screen!). Please let me know if you have any questions,
and I would love to hear any other ideas about building this campaign
for universal school gardens.

Thanks and sincerely,
Ethan Genauer
email: SchoolGardensAcrossAmerica at gmail.com

Special thanks to everyone who actively supported this campaign and
helped turn out the votes to win! I know there's lots of folks who
deserve thanks, but I want to send out super-duper recognition to these
organizations who helped mobilize and publicize the vote: White House Organic Farm Project, Food Democracy Now!, Slow Money, Real Food
Challenge, Kitchen Gardeners
International, Organic Consumers Association, Civil Eats, and DC Food For All ... Last but not least, thanks to the
team at Change.org for their genuine excitement in taking this campaign


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