Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dirt to Dinner Series - Winter Classes

Interested in vegetable gardening and nutrition the the new six weeks series called "Dirt to Dinner" may be for you. The series will be taught on Thursdays, from 9am - noon at the Orange County Extension Education Center. The dates are January 5, 12, 19 and February 2, 9, 16.

The cost for the six week series is $50 per household. Class size is limited to 25 families.

Come learn about growing you own vegetables in your Florida backyard. To register and prepay for the class, come to our offices at 6021 S. Conway Rd., Orlando, FL 32812. For more information, call us at 407 254-9200 and ask for information about the "Dirt to Dinner" program.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

College Park Community Garden in the Planning Stages

The College Park Community Garden is in the planning stages. The next organizational meeting will be on Monday June 20 at 7 p.m. at College Park Baptist Church in the Fellowship Hall.

Heather Tribou is leading the program and if you are interested in getting in on the ground floor, be at the meeting or contact Heather at Heather Tribou 407-843-0496.

Orange County Master Gardener Dena Wild (and College Park resident) will be the Community Garden Advisor to the College Park Community Garden.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Apopka Billie Dean Community Garden --- Interested in Joining??

The Apopka Billie Dean Community Garden is located on the corner of 9th and Park Avenue in Apopka, FL.

The Community Garden currently has 14 raised bed gardens either available or being used and 6 other raised bed gardens that need more work. 

The Community Garden is planned to has the capacity for 80 raised bed gardens.

The Community Garden needs gardeners, leaders and idea people with planning and marketing on their mind.

Grow Your Own Vegetables!

Tomatoes! Carrots! Peppers

Rent a raised garden bed for $20 a year with compost and water included.  Receive garden advice and education from professionals.

Eat your own healthy, organic vegetables.

Contact Peter or Carole if you are interested in becoming part of the Apopka Billie Dean Community Gardenl

Peter: 407-473-0132

Carole: 407-880-0147

Winter Garden Community Garden Reunion Planned

There is a reunion for returning and former members and a new membership drive/registration at the garden on Saturday, March 5, 2011 from 8:00 12:00 P.M. If you have friends or family members that would like to garden, please let them know and bring them on 3-5-11.

Attention all current and returning WGCG Gardeners:

Thank you for your prompt attention and cooperation.

Nancy Reid
Secretary, WGCG

Friday, February 11, 2011

Community Garden Accounting Practices

A community gardener comments: “I am looking for advice/guidelines on correctly setting up our account for a new community garden I'm involved with. We have applied and received our first grant and are looking for the best way to deposit these funds and access them that is legal and ethical. We hope to become a 501(c) (3) in the future, but are not ready for that just yet.”

Suggestions include this one from a fellow community Gardener: “Do you have a separate bank account? Do you have a 501(c) (3) that can act as a fiduciary for you? How much money is it?

You can probably set up an account at your local bank or credit union. Set it up in the name of the Garden or whoever the check is made out to. You will need two signing officers at least, 3 is better, you will all have to go to the bank, with ID (two pieces, one with address, one with photo) and sign the papers, order the checks and there you go.”

Another community gardener suggested “Until you get an account in the name of your garden group, you can ask some other 501(c) (3) group to act as your "fiscal sponsor" and accept the check on your behalf. They would then release the funds to you. They would probably ask you to document the transaction and what/how you spend the money because once a group becomes a fiscal sponsor, they are also responsible to the original funder for the proper use of the money. Many non-profits will do this for free; some charge a small administrative fee. Some are more "hands-on" about managing this than others. Maybe there is some other local greening or environmental group, community service organization or even a local church/temple, etc., that would be willing to be your fiscal sponsor.”

My advice is for you to contact a lawyer and get real legal advice.

What is Your Non-profit Status?

The President of the River City Harvest, a community garden in Great Falls, Montana, states “and we're running into a big bump in the road when it comes to our 501(c)3 application. They turned us down because they said we're a social group and not for the poor, etc. We charge $25/season for a 600 sq ft plot and $5/season for 100 sq ft to be able to reach all income levels. People can grow a heck a lot more than $25 worth of food in a 600 sq ft plot. We also have plots set aside to grow food specifically for Meals On Wheels and the local food bank.

We also helped the Salvation Army start a garden. It was their land and water, but we plowed, fertilized, provided the seeds/plants and volunteers. They harvested nearly 5000 lbs of vegetables for their family services program. It's just frustrating. I wondered how others are set up, and how you explained what you're doing so the IRS could understand it.”

She received this response from a fellow Community Gardener: “The 501 c3 is for educational organizations. Do you do workshops or on site garden classes? If you do, did you include that information in your application? I looked at your web site, keep in mind that it is an educational tool, for example the article on flea beetles. Also when you built the garden for the Salvation Army if you worked with volunteers that is kind of training should be presented as an on-site educational workshop.

From another Community Garden expert: “It sounds like you are running an undeclared not for profit or a not declared charitable group. This open ended arrangement is always looked at by the IRS or Canada Tax in my case as a for profit enterprise until proven differently. A lot of the groups that started out as spontaneous "help the community" gardens end up becoming profitable gardens several years later. How can the government assess that such a transformation has not occurred?

By attaching the garden projects to a church, or by becoming a sanctioned community program under the local municipal government, or by being adopted by a community center or the Salvation Army they would have assurances that this transformation to a for profit would not occur.

As long as the program appears to be run under an acceptable authority and has supervision all questions of tax forms should clear up. You will just need the paper work proving the connection and programs are real and that the consumers of the produce are receiving them at below cost."

My advice is for you to contact a lawyer for some real legal advice.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mushroom Compost - Monterey Mushroom Farm

Amy Wilkinson is the new Compost Coordinator at Monterey Mushrooms.

Monterey Mushrooms currently produce 1200 yards of compost each and every week! At present, they are paying to have the majority of it removed from their facility, as they cannot store it here. Amy's job is to create a program through which they can reduce, or alleviate the cost of disposal. Many other mushroom farms have created a demand for it - as you can imagine!

The mushroom compost (spent mushroom substrate) is a fantastic soil amendment. The water retention properties alone should make Florida growers beat down our doors! It has a pH range of 6.5- 7.5, and provides many nutrients. It is supplemented with nitrogen so it does not draw down nitrogen levels - unlike wood products. It meets "Organically Grown" standards after brief additional composting. Amy can furnish publications detailing this.

Contact Amy if you have any questions.

Amy Wilkinson
Monterey Mushrooms
5949 Sadler Avenue
Mount Dora, FL 32757

Friday, January 7, 2011

Winter Garden Community Garden Meeting

The Winter Garden Community Garden's next Meeting is Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 6:00 P.M.
Location: Maxey Community Center, 830 Klondike Street, Winter Garden, FL

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Peppermill Community Garden - Open House - January 15th, 2011

Laura Coffey Richardson is one of the leaders in the newly formed Peppermill Community Garden. She has announced that the Peppermill Community Garden will have a "Garden Open House on January 15th from noon – 2pm".

The Peppermill Community Garden has all raised bed gardens because the beds are built upon an old, unused tennis court. The ultimate in "recycling" or "re-purposing". They have done a fantastic job. Join them and congratulate them.

If you can, be there ---- Learn, Share, Grow.