Timeline of the Alan Day Community Garden
In 2008 when Alan Day left the 2.8 acre property at 26 Whitman Street to his daughters, they and their mother, wanted to honor him by dedicating this land as a green space in the town of Norway. In order to best serve the community, they chose to let the community decide the purpose for the land. Throughout 2008 and 2009 eight community meetings were held with over 100 participants. During this process, a map of the future community garden was produced, a mission statement was created and work committees were formed. Engaging the community was a high priority. Between 2009 and 2010 volunteer committees started the process of cleaning up the property and building garden beds.
In 2010 the Alan Day Community Garden’s (ADCG) continued growth required a coordinator, so Rocky Crockett was hired. Ann Day, Alan’s mother, began an annual donation to cover the cost of a coordinator position and the board of directors started what would become an annual appeal. In addition to Rocky’s work as a coordinator, he started writing and receiving grants. This funding allowed much growth to take place. Community members planted garden beds, built a water catchment system, renovated the barn, put up a greenhouse and installed fencing and signage. During this time the community garden’s programming and partnerships also grew: a summer events and workshop series was launched, relationships with service clubs, schools, other nonprofits and businesses were formed. The focus on building community and the garden were equally important to the community gardens future success.
As the garden matured, larger programming initiatives began to take shape. A youth leadership program modeled after the Food Project in Boston was created in conjunction with a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. A grant was secured to install a food forest on the back of the property in collaboration with another local non-profit organization. The ADCG was recognized, then chosen to be funded by a county wide collaborative health initiative as an organization successfully addressing obesity in the oxford hills. This recognition opened more doors to collaborate with others in the community.
2008-2009 community meetings, work parties, committees for composting, water catchment, permaculture design and soil improvement were active. A board of directors formed made up of friends of Alan day, gardeners, community organizers and people excited about the project. The board of directors applied for non-profit status. Food was grown by volunteers and donated to the local high school and free community lunch. The mission “To cooperatively create an educational, demonstration garden, where people can grow their own food, using organic, sustainable methods to support an enduring food system” was agreed upon by the community.
2009 We hired a stipended organizer for 6 weeks.
2010 Rocky Crockett was hired to be the Garden Coordinator. Gardeners rented plots signing garden agreements to clarify payment and work exchange as well as expectations of how the gardeners manage their plots. A checking account was opened.
2011 An Environmental Site Assessment was performed. A Memo of Understanding plan was signed for the land to be purchased over time by the non-profit. Senior projects were active at the ADCG and more gardeners grew produce on rented plots. The Garden Coordinator created a website. Non-profit status was a awarded as the Oxford Hills Community Gardens doing business as the Alan Day Community Garden in case other community gardens wanted to spring up in the area.
2012 Students were funded in conjunction with the career center giving them work experience.
2013 Youth Leadership Program (YLP) was developed and offered stipends to students. 1st Annual Light the Garden party fundraiser was held. The barn roof was replaced and a tool shed built by a local service club.
2014 YLP ended stipends, offered elective credit and community service hours. A community member offered scholarships for anyone who cannot afford to rent a row; the community garden offered a work for food option;
1st Annual Organic Seedlings sale was held, a yearly survey was developed and sent to participants at the ADCG to get feedback about what is going well and what can be improved to make decisions about the evolution of the ADCG. Solar power was installed in cooperation with a local non-profit organization to provide electricity to the garden.
2015 A YLP coordinator was hired and the outdoor pavilion was built. 1st Annual Organic Seed Sale was held. The Food Forest started with funding by a grant. Free summer meals were provided at the ADCG. Garden club for the middle school was started. Community members accepted to do community service in collaboration with Norway General Assistance and the judicial system.
2016 Rocky Crockett became the Executive Director of the ADCG. Garden beds expanded to accommodate both the CSA and gardeners. OCWC Restorative Community Trainings held at the ADCG. Barn renovations and creation of a library and resource center initiated.
2017 A Sponsorship program with businesses to fund the Youth Leadership Program was developed. The ADCG was chosen for the work of addressing obesity and reducing isolation, disconnection and not feeling valued through the gardens programs with a support grant for the YLP to set up raised beds at local Early Learning Centers and create a YLP video.