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Frequently Asked Questions: Build-a-Garden

Who is eligible to receive a garden?

Do I have to pay for a raised-bed garden?

What if I don't have space for a garden?

How does the application process work?

How can I tell if I have a good site for a raised bed?

What are my responsibilities as a gardener?

What if The Food Project is unable to build me a raised bed?

 

Who is eligible to receive a garden?

We build gardens for residents of Boston, Gloucester and Lynn. We focus our resources on serving low- to moderate-income families with children. In Boston, our focus neighborhoods are Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan. On the North Shore, we work with our partners The Highlands Coalition in Lynn and the Backyard Growers Program in Gloucester to recruit and support gardeners for Build-a-Garden. No prior gardening experience is required.

Organizations interested in receiving a garden should request an organizational application by emailing [email protected]. Eligibility for organizations is based on its geographic location, demographics of the population served, and the existing organizational capacity to use and maintain a garden.

Do I have to pay for a raised-bed garden?

In order to make the program accessible to all, The Food Project requires a minimum contribution of $25 for individuals and families. Since we have limited funding for the program, participants who are able to pay more are expected to contribute as much as possible toward the full cost of materials and labor, which is $250 for one raised bed. Donations above $250 support the construction of beds for those with limited resources; the portion above $250 is tax-deductible.

For organizations, monetary contributions are expected if approved for a garden. The Food Project will assess each organization's support and capacity for a garden on a case-by-cases basis to determine the size of this contribution.

What if I don't have a space for a garden?

Applicants generally need to have their own space for a garden. However, if an applicant does not have an appropriate space, The Food Project will try to help. When possible, we will try to match you with alternative accommodations in your neighborhood, such as sharing a neighbor's yard space, negotiating the use of common space with your landlord or management company, or signing up for a community garden plots. For this reason, we encourage you to fill out an application to be kept on file even if you don't have space.

How does the application process work?

Applications are reviewed throughout the year on a rolling basis. We will let you know that we have received your application. Once we have processed it, we will notify you of your status, and if you are approved, a site visit will be scheduled with you in person. In scheduling site visits, priority is given to applicants who best meet the specified eligibility criteria.

The site visit will allow us to determine whether or not your location is suitable for a garden and review your responsibilities as a gardener. Payment is due at or before the site visit, and it will not be processed unless you are approved for a garden at your site visit.

When all slots are filled for a season, incoming applicants are placed on a waitlist. The Food Project installs beds throughout the growing season, and applicants are accepted as space allows.

How can I tell if I have a good site for a raised bed?

The most important factor for a successful garden is adequate sunlight; the site must receive 6-8 hours of full sun every day in the summer. Having a water connection nearby is also important. If you are approved for a site visit, Food Project staff will help determine whether or not your location is suitable for a garden.

What are my responsibilities as a gardener?

Gardeners should care for gardens throughout the season (about 1-2 hours per week), and seek guidance as needed. We require approved applicants to attend an Introductory Gardening workshop, and highly encourage participation in additional workshops throughout the year. Participants should also pick up transplants at our annual City Farm Fest events in Boston and Lynn in May; maintain healthy soil by adding compost and other soil enhancers; and use the Growing Guide as a resource in order to have a successful raised bed. We hope your garden will be used for many years to come!

What if The Food Project is unable to build me a raised bed?

We strive to support everyone who is interested in starting a garden. Check out our manual with instructions, suggestions, prices and pictures of how to do it yourself. If your budget is limited, consider using five gallon buckets from a local restaurant (often at no cost) for a container garden, or building a raised bed frame from reclaimed wood or cinder blocks. Reducing the frame's height to six inches requires less soil and is still enough depth to grow most crops suitable for raised beds.

Aside from material resources for a garden, The Food Project encourages everyone to take advantage of its ongoing workshop series and other general garden support we offer. In addition to our Growing Guide, email [email protected] to receive invitations to workshops and events.

More questions?

Contact the Build-a-Garden Coordinator at 617-442-1322 x55 
or [email protected].

The Food Project is a 501(c)(3) non-profit.

Tax ID: 04-3262532

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