A crash course in changing the world.
The Gratitude Gardens will be a global network, so much of the 'place' will be virtual. We have already registered www.gratitudegardens.org, and that will be the location for our online network. This network will be free to use, and will provide mapping functionality for sharing locations, links to resources organized globally, regionally, nationally, and locally, and a seed database through a partnership with plants for the future and seed savers.org.
Gratitude Gardens will also be physical locations where participants grow heirloom and landrace edible and useful plants. They will be living seed banks, community spaces, and social enterprise incubators, providing raw materials for the enterprises of the founders and their community while safeguarding and adapting precious genetic stock for this and future generations.
Anyone will be able to plant a garden of any size, but they will all be encouraged to participate online in sharing information and resources before planting so as to ensure that future Gratitude Gardeners will be able to benefit from their efforts.
The Challenge. What will you aim to change, and for whom? Highlight what is the need that you perceive and who will benefit from this change.
There are huge issues facing the world, both for the loss of biodiversity in our food production system and piracy and theft of indigenous knowledge. The long term effects of genetically modified foods have yet to be established, particularly terminator genes and traits produced with cellular invasion methods.
There are many advocates for these issues already, and the Gratitude Gardens don't claim to solve the problem or replace their efforts. However, the one thing that is clear is not enough people are farming sustainably, and many plant cultivars are in danger of dying out. In response to this we've decided to crowdsource the problem, and create a global network of people who research their agricultural heritage and then put it into practice.
The Idea. Your solution – what is the action, product, service, project, change that you will initiate? Tell us how will your idea will succeed where others have failed.
We will create a global competition, inspired by Urgent Evoke. Participants will log onto the website and create a profile. They will be awarded badges for filling out basic information, but once they start researching local seeds they will be entered into monthly contests.
Those who find and share information about new strains of plants will share them with the community. Pictures and wiki entries will doc**ent their discoveries. Partners at Seed Savers will help ensure that these valuable genetics will be safeguarded and not patented by greedy multinationals.
Participants will also be encouraged to identify local, national, and regional organizations that support these type of conservation and sustainable agriculture projects. They will post links to websites, addresses and phone numbers, so that future aspiring gratitude gardens can access that information and support/be supported by these groups.
All of this information will be open source, and the quantity and quality of information provided will be a****sed by the community in a manner similar to how Urgent Evoke functions. The highest rated content will earn monthly prizes, such as free seeds and equipment from Seed Savers.org.
Aside from the virtual community, participants will also be planting individual and community gardens. Not all of the garden must be dedicated to heirloom and landrace seeds, but at least 25% of it must be to qualify for the garden competition.
On a monthly basis, gardeners in specific areas will qualify for grants from a large grantmaking institution concerned about global and regional hunger. Particularly, areas at risk of losing huge quantities of genetic material such as South Asia and Africa will be eligible to grants from organizations like the Gates Foundation. Monthly cash prizes will go to the best projects to encourage more participation and expansion and outreach. Efforts will be made to make it as meritorious and equitable a system as possible, but participants will be made aware that some targeted grants are only available to certain regions due to the magnitude of their need.
The Money. What would you do with your first US$1,000 given or invested in support of your vision?
The first $1000 will go to web development. The domain has been registered, and we have a wiki up, but purchasing a pro ning account and contracting a web designer to create the Gratitude Garden website. A portion might also be set aside for the first few prizes to ensure that even the founding members can be incentivized to participate.