by Faith C. Carr
First gather a few people around a table, get them a pitcher of beer. Then ask the question, “How can we get more people growing their own food?” Meet up with a small local “prepper” group. Toss in a random bunch of social activists who want to eat clean healthy food – and a local food movement is begun.
Create a list of things required for community resilience: give it a catchy name. Build a website, create a Facebook group, and collaborate with that MeetUp group.
And you have – Grow Gainesville. From the beginning meeting each other out in the real world was the key to actually making it work. Getting people off line – at least once a month in the same place at the same time. No matter what, someone would be there.
That’s how the 3rd Monday Meeting began, February 2012, in the parking lot of Highlands Presbyterian Church. Ideas were tossed around, plans were made, along with a Barter Market every 3rd Saturday. Adding Extra Special Workshops as the interest grew. Affiliating with every local food production group, organization, and outlet to create a network of information, assistance, and connectivity without competing for members or money.
Beginning with: Backyard food production (vegetables, fruit, meat, dairy), and seed security. Then expanding towards health, labor, barter systems (including skill set identification & training).
One by one but in parallel, new groups formed with different individuals taking on leadership focused around their personal passions: local seed saving & development of acclimated seed, home grown meat and communal processing, pollinator and ornamental gardening. And a network of sweat equity work parties to create, maintain, and harvest with and for each other.
Five years and a meeting re-location later, Grow Gainesville has 4200 Facebook members, over 17 affiliated organizations and a voice. And a TV show – “What’s Growing On?” TV20 WCJB – Thursdays at 5:45.
Our July 3rd meeting at our new home at 219 NW 10th Avenue in the old Powell Plaza featured “Growing Olives at Home” with Jade Allen. August’s meeting will feature plant nutrition and fall preparation talks by Timothy Noyes and John Beville.
Everybody can grow if we work on it together. “Shovels in the Ground, People!” Grow Gainesville can help you with that.
Note: Grow Gainesville is NOT an official 501(c)3.