Leading with Nature

walking in partnership with nature

Update: Stakeholder Engagement in the Community Garden

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Tricolor Garden Sage (Salvia officinalis) shown through the garden fence, is a planting intended to give passers-by a connection to the garden while the organizational boundary (fence) remains clear.

Author: Kristen Barney, MA, MSOD

So, what has happened in my experiment with stakeholder
engagement in a community garden?

  • As I tend my plot, people walking by continue to speak with me and even compliment the garden.
  • There continues to be little or no evidence of littering.
  • Only a rabbit or vole has committed theft (and murder by the way), neatly executing a promising zucchini plant at the base and knawing up the first squash. (I may not cast any stones, however, as I mashed some harlequin beetles, or Acrocinus longimanus, which breed quickly and transform kale leaves into lace.)
  • Today a petite elderly woman in a turquoise tunic spoke softly to
    me in an Asian language and made hand gestures about my weeding activities and how she was exercising her legs.

Stakeholder engagement aside, the blackberry brambles have tripled in size, the cabbage is nearly ready to harvest, and I snack on gold and red cherry tomatoes with every visit.

Organizations (and farmers!) usually have more ambitious goals than stemming the tide of litter, preventing theft, and having friendly conversations; yet, the principles of stakeholder engagement do scale well. I hope you will tell more gardening and/or stakeholder engagement stories below and share posts with friends and colleagues.


Author: openingcreativity

Kristen Barney, MA, MSOD, is Principal of Opening Creativity LLC, which helps nonprofits & multi-sector teams reach their highest potential through participatory processes, leadership development, consensus building & more. Please visit Opening Creativity's web site at www.openingcreativity.com.

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