Thursday, September 17, 2009

An urban community garden in Fort Myers

When Green Coaches was created, a few months ago, one of the decisions we made was to not advertise in the traditional sense - for one thing, our budget was (and is) too small, but there's other reasons as well. We are drowning, choking, in advertising. Sometimes it seems that we are approaching a sensory overload, where every single second of our lives and every available square inch is taken with a commercial message. The folks at Adbusters have been exploring this subject for a while.
So it was decided to do things differently, away from marketing & advertising: instead of claiming to be good at something, we just try to be good at something and hope that word spreads around. Doing a good job is the best advertising. Also, being reliable and honest, not using pressure tactics to force a sale, that kind of thing. Totally old-fashioned, I know. Besides, not a lot of landscaping companies do edible and organic projects, although I'm sure that's about to change, fast.
But the best thing we are doing so far is getting involved in neighborhoods and communities, volunteering to help with starting community gardens everywhere they'll let us. Community centers, private homes, churches. If they want a garden, we'll help.
A few days ago, I had the opportunity to spend the morning helping set up a large community garden on Cuba St, just off of Martin Luther King, Jr, Blvd, sponsored by a great community organization, Quality Life Center. Many volunteers showed up, both from the neighborhood and from groups like SW FL Coalition For Change, to work under the direction of QLC memebers Ms Vonda Curry and Mr James Matthews, as well as local environmentalist and community organizer Kim Trebatoski. 13 raised beds were created, and planted with tomatos, beans, greens, okra, lettuce and carrots. Home Depot donated most of the tools, including two wheelbarrows.
This was so much fun, my mood improved even more in the following days (I say "even more" because I've been pretty happy since I don't work in an office doing graphic design -advertising- all day long anymore, and since I quit smoking several months ago). Someone needs to work on a theory of how doing stuff that you really enjoy can have enormous health and mood benefits; or perhaps it's been done already and I don't know about it.
In any case, there was so much crammed together in one morning that is positive and enjoyable, that I can't think of a better way to spend my time: not just the satisfaction of seeing the garden take shape, but also teaching a bunch of kids how to plant stuff, and learning from neighborhood old-timers that showed up, as well as exercising, cracking jokes with everyone and promoting my business in a sustainable way.
I can't post photo albums here, but if you'd like to see some more pictures from that day, they are here. And don't forget to contact Green Coaches if you have a garden project yourself!


  1. I would like to volunteer to help upkeep this garden if help is needed. I live nearby and am having a great time with my own vegetable garden. Too much fun not to share. Please contact me if the need is there. Many thanks, Millisa (

  2. I am a recently graduated Master Gardener, living in Lee County 7 months (Nov-May) and upstate NY summers. I am very interested in community garden concept and would be interested in meeting you and working with you. I am a retired pediatric therapist and am also interested in working with kids. You can email me at Facebook page is "Bonnie's Garden"