Urgent Evoke

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Strategy for making an urban farmers network a reality - feedback needed!!!

There has been a lot of interest discussion about urban farms. Inspired by Patricio's NEXT STEP post (http://www.urgentevoke.com/profiles/blogs/next-step-community-urban-1)

I thought in a way to start doing a network of urban farmers that could grow exponentially. I think the key success is to make a flexible structure were all the members of the network keep it going and just a few people coordinate/motivate people to do this (such as the blog's discussions in this Evoke network).

I'm posting a very simple outline of this strategy here to get some feedback and to try to find people interesting in making this real. The approach follows up the "act locally, think globally" motto as this promotes local action, coordinated at a global level. In this way local "sub-networks" makes face-to-face motivation and collaboration possible, while the "global network" shares experiences, different points of view, efforts to make educational tools, and in general a sense of global working for a better planet (which I believe is a very strong motivation!)

As a strategy to make this real I would propose the following:
1.- Design a practical workshop to learn how to do an urban farm that could work in any house (garden in a sack (http://www.urgentevoke.com/profiles/blogs/solidarities-humanitarian...) looks like a good option, it might be more approaches). The important think about this "start-up" workshop is that people actually end up with a urban farm (at least a small one) by the end of the workshop. This makes it easier for starters and makes it harder to quit.
2.- Design a way to keep communication going though the network. Maybe a "Ning" social network such as this is the best option, maybe a yahoo/google group, something to keep in touch. Suggestions welcome!
3.- So small local teams start some urban farmers and do the first workshops. These people can be people already working in similar projects and would give the initial insight and experiences to local "starters". After a couple of workshops there should be at least 10-20 people with an urban farm in their houses. Since probably these first workshops would be promoted along close friends already interested in environmental issues, a small but solid local network of urban farmers can easily emerge.
4.- Everyone with an urban farm and/or who finishes the workshop gets into the social network. Specially at the beginning it's important to motivate people to share experiences and to organize stuff to keep the network working together (maybe some face-to-face events such as picnics with stuff from your urban farm or get together to build an urban farm in a school. Also some Evoke-like motivations such as weekly/monthly missions, a "best urban farm" contests where people upload pictures/video of their urban farm, anything to get people involved in the network communication)
5.- The social network would work as a way to promote the members to do stuff to grow the movement: People can share educational material as videos or fliers, opportunities to do "big" urban gardens in schools or public parks can arise from the people in the network, etc. Even "Promote Urban Farming in your Vacation" kind of programs could work where a group of urban farmers travel together to do urban farming workshops somewhere else. Possibilities are endless if an active network of urban farmers is made! (Evoke is to me a great example of this =D)

Hope to get some great feedback about this and maybe some more people interested in making this true!!!

Views: 34

Comment by Nick Heyming on March 16, 2010 at 7:48pm
There already is one network like that, www.freedomgardeners.org . I'm also doing the Ning site thing at the local level, with MyGreenRiverside.com . We're hoping to start a trend for that across California.
Comment by Sayel Cortes on March 17, 2010 at 6:52am
I asked what will happen with EVOKE after the 10 wks in the suggestions and questions discussion board. A mentor replied but I didn´t got too much info:

(I also asked Alchemy in a personal message but no answer so far... I guess they're planning something but they don´t want to tell =/ )

@Nick: I can see the benefits of having a local network (honestly I think that works better for real-life projects). But I guess you would agree that global networks are better to get different points of view and innovative solutions. I guess local networks connected to form a global network would be the answer but I don´t really know how to do that =/


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