President’s Call

September 2016

So often we find ourselves doing things for various reasons. Whether for ourselves or others we tend to make accommodations of time. If you favor the old adage, “The squeaky wheel gets the oil”, then you tend to respond to specific problems or issues that refuses to go away. This is typically reactive. Reactive as defined by Encarta Dictionary means, “Tending to react to events and situations rather than initiating or instigating them.”

Sometimes reacting can present a benefit however, when it comes to self-education, I would like to encourage you to initiate or instigate productive and motivational ways to educate yourself and others on gardening and tending the soil. There are many benefits to learning how to tend the soil which includes, mental exercise, a closer relationship with your environment, and a better understanding of essential elements needed to grow fruits and vegetables. So often I hear colleagues and other professionals make the comment, “use it or lose it.” If we do not use the knowledge learned then it is very easy for use to lose the knowledge learned. Once upon a time, some of us use to grow some of the foods that we ate. Once upon a time, some of us use to reach out and teach others the importance of gardening and the value of having a positive interaction with the earth. For those of you whom are continuing to reach out and educate – AWESOME. For everyone else, make a commitment to enlighten the next generation. Especially our Youth.

Recently I spoke with Maree Gaetani, a former ACGA Board Member and she shared with me information about her current organization and I felt motivated and empowered to share such a resource with our Public especially our youth educators. It’s called  and it offers lesson plans, grants, and other resource tools that can help keep Kids connected with the Earth.  For additional resources you can visit our website,  I would also like to share a motivational quote from Mahatma Gandhi, “To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.” Let’s not forget ourselves, more so, let’s be reminded of the need to teach our Youth so that we may tend the soil and grow together.

Charlie A. Monroe


American Community Gardening Association

President’s Call

June 2016

Staying alive and staying focused, is it really in our control? I am reminded of the lifelong adage, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” Every minute of the day that I am alive I will choose to Live and focus on happiness for myself, my family and my community. I may not be in total control of my environment however; to some degree I can control how I allow my environment to impact my life and my ability to live and stay focused on making a positive impact on those around me. When I am in control, I choose to grow with a Win-Win purpose.

I suggest you live with a Win-Win purpose. Having a Win-Win purpose is believing that you too Win when those around you Win. That you also “Win” when your competitors “Win”.  Having a Win-Win purpose is believing there is enough good out there for everyone to benefit from the “Win” and no-one person is able to take your “Win” away, just because they too Win or benefit. Sometimes, we may feel as though the “Win” of others means that we are defeated or that someone has to lose. That could not be further from the truth. Your level of celebration may vary however staying focused on the Win-Win purpose will allow you to mature through your experience and gain a larger appreciation of others and the world around you.

Even in the gardens we plant with the hopes of harvesting however through experiences we learn that everything we plant may not survive for various reasons. The seed itself may not germinate due to genetics and or environmental conditions. The delicious ripe tomatoes and collards may grow and attract others and become lunch for the local deer and curious passer-byers. This could be discouraging to some but if you stay focused and embrace the Win-Win purpose you too can grow. Plan to share your Win, and accept the fact that sometimes, you will not have complete control but when you do, choose a Win-Win purpose and continue to Grow.

Charlie A. Monroe



April 2016

This call is for all grant writers and contributors. For the past 37 Years ACGA has been the “Go-To” organization for Community Gardens and since its’ inception the number of community gardens have continued to increase with no plateau in sight. This movement is paving the way for motivated grant writers and contributors to help further educational opportunities for eager minds to learn about sustaining community gardens and urban farming.

Whether providing personal, community or national benefits, you can play a role in strengthening this movement. Personal benefits can include receiving monetary compensation, verbal “Thank You”, or even a “pat on the back.” For example if you are the contributor that brings the refreshments or tastiest dish to the community meetings then I’m pretty sure, “Thank You” and a “pat-on-the-back” are often enough personal benefits to motivate your spirit.

Those kinds acts from Contributors not only provide personal benefits but they also provide benefits for the Community, refreshments for All – Yummy! Contributors can also provide Community benefits by writing to the news media, elected officials, and local businesses and share the “story” history of the garden/farm and ask them to visit and support a special event.   For Contributors whom enjoy packaging formal requests and impacting their larger community, I encourage you to search and apply for grants that can positively impact the community gardening movement, Locally, Regionally and/ Nationally.

If you need assistance with a particular grant, I encourage you to reach out to ACGA, the “Go-To” organization for community gardens.  Whether locally, regionally, or nationally ACGA is looking to partner with motivated grant-writers/contributors and continue the movement of providing educational and training opportunities on how to start and sustain community gardens and urban farms. In closing, if you are looking to be a contributor and maximize your grant-writing impact, contact ACGA today and let’s have a discussion at

Charlie Monroe, ACGA President


President’s Video of the Season
“Great Divide” by the McClain Sisters:

President’s Message:

February 2016

Members: I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to serve as President of the American Community Gardening Association [ACGA]. Over the past 37 years ACGA has been the “go-to” organization when it comes to starting a community garden, and with the support of members like you, we will continue to grow and impact change. I would also like to acknowledge my employer, DeKalb County Government for its’ continued support of community gardens both locally and nationally.

I am a proud native of Bainbridge, Georgia and much of my passion for outdoor learning came from our State Land-grant institutions, University of Georgia and Fort Valley State University.  It was the Land-grant’s 4H program that captured my interest in outdoor learning as a child and that passion inspired me to attend the University of Georgia where I obtained two degrees, a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Masters in Agriculture Leadership. As a professed, “nature-geek” and dedicated “community lover”; I am committed to uphold the mission of ACGA. It’s not going to be easy, but with your input, your efforts and your investment, we will continue to succeed.

The mission of the American Community Gardening Association is to build community by increasing and enhancing community gardening and greening across the United States and Canada…. The Association recognizes that community gardening improves people’s quality of life by providing a catalyst for neighborhood and community development, stimulating social interaction, encouraging self-reliance, beautifying neighborhoods, producing nutritious food, reducing family food budgets, conserving resources and creating opportunities for recreation, exercise, therapy and education.

ACGA and its member organizations work to promote and support all aspects of community food and ornamental gardening, urban forestry, open space, preservation and management, and integrated planning and management of developing urban and rural lands.

The Association supports community gardening by facilitating the formation and expansion of state and regional community gardening networks; developing resources in support of community gardening; and, encouraging research and conducting educational programs.
Last month we held our Winter Board meeting in New Orleans and it was awesome. The weekend started with a Thursday night “meet and greet, which was an informal session entitled, “How to Start and Sustain a Community Garden”  Special thanks to Mr. Jay Addison of the Land Trust for Louisiana for hosting the event and providing such a warm welcome from the City of New Orleans. Meeting local community persons helped set the tone for Friday’s and Saturday’s meeting which consisted of committed Board members working through ideas and plans to fulfill the mission and vision for ACGA.

How will we grow, together – it is my commitment to you. I would like to share two action items which are to increase our membership and enhance our relationship with our current members. This is where your member input is needed. How can ACGA better help your local efforts? Has ACGA already helped your local efforts via grants, technical support, training, etc…?  Please share your challenges and success stories directly at .
Invest today,

Presidents’ video of the Month:
Jan 2016

President’s Message:

How time flies!  Another trip around the sun completed, and a new trip and year has begun.

Similarly, the board of directors of ACGA change a little this time of year as well – with a few new board members joining the board.  And internally, in odd numbered years (2015) the ACGA officers or executive committee has its elections. Last July, I announced to the executive committee that I would not be running for an executive committee position in the 2015 election.  ACGA will be in good hands with the new officers for 2016:
Vice President Charlie Monroe will be President;

Secretary Brien Darby will be Vice President;

Board member Sandy Pernitz will be Secretary;

Board member Cordalie Benoit will be Treasurer
I will be moving into the Past President slot on the board and will continue to promote and support the efforts of ACGA, and will always be looking for new opportunities for ACGA and our ACGA members.

I want to thank past Treasurer Mary Ann Lucas for her time and commitment to ACGA; and to the board and staff for their work over the past two years.  While we accomplished a lot in the past two years, we still have a lot more to do.

As always, I want to remind newsletter readers and ACGA members, on how you can help and support ACGA; but also how ACGA can help you:

I encourage the newsletter readers to join or rejoin ACGA;

I encourage all ACGA newsletter readers and ACGA members to attend an ACGA Conference in the next three years;

I encourage all ACGA members to renew their memberships, and consider upgrading their membership level – eventually renewing as a lifetime member;

I encourage everyone to donate to ACGA!  A monthly or yearly contribution to ACGA helps sustain the organization, annual conference and educational efforts.  Also remember ACGA in your estate planning for a future donation;

I encourage non-profits, municipalities and other groups to contact ACGA to learn how we can partner on grants in your area to help bring ACGA trainings and support to your local gardens and gardeners;

I encourage everyone to donate time to ACGA by writing articles on your local garden efforts for the monthly newsletter and/or annual Greening Review, or making a presentation at an ACGA conference;

I encourage ACGA members to join an ACGA committee and get involved.  Have a passion for Grant Writing? Website Design? Marketing? Graphics? Or?  ACGA can use your help!

I encourage the past ACGA board members and officers from the last 37 years to reconnect with ACGA to reunite your talents and years of experience to help the organization grow in the spirit in which it was founded;

I encourage ACGA members with time and energy to consider joining the ACGA Board of Directors.  A good first step would be to attend a conference or two, and work on an ACGA committee to get the big picture of what being on a working board is all about;

And last but not least, I encourage every ACGA member to take advantage of special ACGA member’s discounts offered by some of our partners, and I want to encourage everyone to do business with our partners/sponsors:

Corona Tools
Durable Green Bed garden beds
Gardeners Supply
Lowtech – Compost crank
Organic Life Magazine
Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden Supply
Pepperwood Grove wines by Don Sabastiani

ACGA is always looking for new partners and sponsors – both to help sustain the organization and to offer discounts to our ACGA members.  If you are interested in being part of the ACGA effort, please contact the ACGA office, or 1 877-ASK ACGA (275 2242)

It has been a pleasure to serve as the President of ACGA; and as your Past President (starting January 29), I want you to know that I will be here to serve the members of ACGA and to promote community gardening across North America as are our board members from across the country.

On behalf of the ACGA Board of Directors and staff, I want to wish you and yours a bountiful 2016.

More Gardens!

Bill Maynard

ACGA President

Letter from the President

July 2015

President’s Message:

Time to start thinking about August!  August seems far in the future; but it’s really only a few weeks away!  What will you be doing in August?  Consider attending the ACGA 36thAnnual National Community Garden Conference in Denver, August 13th  to 16th  The Denver host committee is planning a great time for all with garden tours, workshops, networking, great food and a great time in Denver – the Mile High City.  I know that, as a flatlander, I am looking forward to seeing Denver and gathering with other community gardeners from over 30 states and 6 international countries.

Over the years, ACGA’s conference has educated thousands of community gardeners of all skill and knowledge levels.  Now is a great time to start planning your trip and securing funds to attend the conference and leave energized with new ideas, renewed commitment, and new friends.

Registration materials are on the ACGA website – so that you can get all of the details on a fantastic time in Denver.  The ACGA board of directors are looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones at our 36th Annual conference in Denver this Summer.  Hope to see you there!  Remember to bring an item or two for the silent auction.


August is also National Community Gardening Awareness Month, let us know of your events any time of the year, and we will be glad to include it in the ACGA newsletter.  Please send your items to


More Gardens!

Bill Maynard

ACGA President

Letter from the President

March 2015

Many parts of the country are still under snow, yet some parts haven’t seen snow or much rain and are considering planting early gardens. When it’s your time to plant or to work the soil, please keep safety in mind in all your garden chores. Safety is often overlooked; we all believe ourselves to be super human, and sometimes we are just pressed for time. In any case, safety comes first especially when using tools and power equipment. A few weeks ago, a man lost all his fingers in a chipper accident at a California community garden—the use of power tools was strictly forbidden at the garden—but still the chipper was used and resulted in tragedy. Garden rules and or procedures for community gardens are there for a reason and need to be followed so that the community gardening experience is a good one for all.

Another item that is often overlooked is first aid in the garden. Most often, gardeners suffer from blisters or a few scrapes while working in the garden and a bandage could be applied if needed. In an accident like the one mentioned above, major attention was needed—and fast! Luckily, someone on the site knew first-aid and applied a tourniquet to stop the bleeding that could have led to a different outcome. Each garden should have at least a first-aid kit in the garden, but also a few persons trained on first aid for the garden to address minor/major injuries including heat stroke, heart attacks, etc.

Of course, things can happen when those trained are not around. However, with more gardeners trained, or at least made aware of where the first-aid kit is and how to respond in an emergency, precious time can be saved in emergency situations.

And lastly, related to the above, does your garden have insurance? Some may be covered by parks and recreation, public works, or another agency. Others may think that they are covered by their current insurance at a church, school, or other non-profit group but might actually need to get a rider on said insurance to cover activities (such as gardening) that may not be covered on their existing policy. Some gardens are not registered non-profits and carry no insurance. Each situation is different and insurance coverage needs to be researched to know what exactly you are covered for and if you are covered. If you go shopping for insurance in the phone book for community gardening insurance, chances are that you will be making a lot of calls to companies that have no idea what you are asking about, or do not carry community gardening insurance. ACGA has made that easy for our members and offers discounted insurance through Brunswick Insurance. They know the questions to ask you about your garden: number of gardeners, size of garden, use of power equipment, and others. They also offer board and officer insurance, as the organizers of the garden can be liable for injuries in the garden.


The key point here is… is your garden prepared? Please be safe while working in the gardens this year and always remember Safety First!


More Gardens!

Bill Maynard

ACGA President



Letter from the President

February 2015


As you read this, the board members of ACGA have just finished meeting in Atlanta for our winter board meeting. We meet twice each year, once in the winter and once after the annual ACGA conference. At the board meetings, we address the sustainability of ACGA, and ways to move the organization forward. I want you to know that ACGA is strong and looking forward to another 36 years of service to our members and beyond; and we are always looking for new ways to promote community gardening and increase the number of community gardens across North America. Recently, I had the pleasure of giving a tour of community gardens in the Sacramento area to an ACGA member and others from the Alameda area (100 miles away) that are planning to start a new community garden there. It was a pleasure to spend five hours with these fellow gardeners and to talk community gardening during their visit – ACGA board members are always happy to give personal service to our members and help them achieve their goals and visions.

So that we can better serve our Canadian members, we are looking for Canadian community gardeners interested in being on the ACGA board of directors. If you or someone you know is interested in helping the community gardening movement, please contact ACGA at for more information.

ACGA is gearing up for a busy year with the call for proposals for sessions at the ACGA annual conference; and soon to be announced the call for articles for the ACGA Greening Review. In addition, you are always welcome to send us stories from your community garden, ideas, and garden events in your city and/or region. Please visit the ACGA website for more details and deadlines.

The ACGA board of directors is looking forward to meeting you at our 36th Annual conference in Denver this summer. Hope to see you there!

More Gardens!

Bill Maynard

ACGA President

January 2015

Another year over, and a new one just begun; another trip around the sun!

 At least in California, as soon as the Christmas decorations clear the store shelves, the gardening merchandise appears. Bare root fruit trees, grapes, pomegranates, berries are all great items to get this time of year. Dive into your seed catalogs and make your choices for the year’s plantings – choose old favorites but remember to try some new varieties, as well. Like all gardeners, I always buy too many.

It’s also time to plan a project or donate your time and volunteer for the Days of Service on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. A favorite MLK quote of mine is, “What are you doing for others?” I have always made it a point to volunteer not only on MLK Weekend; but on other days of service as well. This year on MLK Weekend, I will be leading two projects: a community garden clean up and fruit tree planting at one of the City of Sacramento’s Department of Parks and Recreation’s community gardens; and then in the afternoon I will be leading a 150 oak tree seedling planting in a park where we are restoring the declining tree canopy. Rain or shine we will be out there to get the job done!

If you are doing a project(s) for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day (or weekend) please let us know about it by writing a few paragraphs about the project and include 1-2 photos. We will include them in future newsletters – send them to

The call for proposals is out for the 36th ACGA Conference! ACGA Conference 2015 – Denver will be a great one! Help make it a great by submitting a proposal for a session at the conference. Proposals are due March 15th but don’t wait submit one today and plan to attend the conference! More info can be found by clicking here. Hope to see you in the Mile High City this summer!

Have a bountiful new year in your garden!


More Gardens!

Bill Maynard

ACGA President


Letter from the President

December 2014

The Holiday Season is upon us, and the hustle and bustle that goes along with it; but it’s all good. It brings friends and families together to share memories over food. Even better, food that you might have grown in your community garden plot or canned yourself!

During times of cold winter weather, it’s always nice to think about and plan next year’s garden from a comfy chair or have the time to search online for more ideas for your garden. Be sure to order your gardening catalogs from our friends at Gardeners Supply and Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden Supply, where ACGA members get a discount! In the meantime, visit them online to see pages full of great gift ideas for your favorite gardener. And if you are looking for seeds, be sure to visit Seed Savers Exchange, Seeds of Change, Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co, Territorial Seed Company, and High Mowing Seeds to name a few.

Plan to plant an extra row or two for produce donations for each month next year; hunger is a year-round issue.

If you are looking for last minute gifts, here are some ideas:

Tools, seeds, and gardening gifts from our partners at Gardeners Supply and Peaceful Valley;

Give an ACGA membership! Along with it comes a 1 year subscription to Organic Gardening Magazine, seeds, and discounts and special offers from our partners;

Purchase some of the ACGA manuals and materials on-line at our website;

Fund a scholarship for a community gardener to attend the ACGA Annual National Conference in Denver this August;

or there is still time to make a year-end contribution to ACGA to help us continue our work for another 36 years!

I want to take this time to thank you for being an ACGA member; if you haven’t joined please do, and if it’s time to renew, please do. The ACGA board is working on expanding a number of things in the coming year and we need your input. Drop us a line about what you would like to see, write an article for the ACGA newsletter or email a unique community garden photo. You can always reach the ACGA Board of Directors at with your thoughts, comments and articles. We look forward to hearing from you!

The Board of Directors of ACGA and I wish you a bountiful new year!

More Gardens!


Bill Maynard

ACGA President


Letter from the President

November 2014

Many things are happening this time of year—the start of the Holiday Season, World Series (Go San Francisco Giants!), Halloween, and of course, elections. I can tell you that I won’t miss the election mailers and mudslinging TV ads for propositions, measures or candidates. One candidate that won’t have to waste money on such ads is Amanda Edmonds of Ypsilanti, Michigan. Amanda (past ACGA Board Member) will be elected as Mayor of her city – running unopposed.   Congratulations Amanda! I can see it now, community gardens on every corner and a chicken in every plot! For those voters that don’t have as “green” a candidate as Amanda, vote for candidates that share your same views of a green edible city! Candidate by candidate, city by city we can make the change.

Remember too, that you can vote EVERY day with your fork! The food and other consumer goods that you buy send messages to companies and stores on what you want to spend your money on. Whether its organic seeds, organic produce/food or junk food … your dollar sends a message. It’s also time to vote for the ACGA Board of Directors, five new board members and a few returning board members have committed to help move ACGA forward during their first term of three years. Please fill out the survey monkey ballot that was emailed to you on Oct. 31 – Thank You!

And finally, I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. Remember to donate a can(s) of food to local food drives and if by chance your garden is still producing, consider donating some produce to a local food pantry or homeless shelter. If your garden has been put to bed for the winter, plan to plant extra to donate each month in 2015 as hunger exists year round.

More Gardens! Bill Maynard ACGA President

Letter from the President

October 2014

I hope that everyone had a bountiful year in their (Spring/Summer) gardens this year. For some of you, it’s time to prepare for the first frost, and for others it’s time to plant a Fall/Winter garden or cover crop. It’s also time to start collecting the free carbon that is falling from the sky! LEAVES! Leaves for mulch and leaves for COMPOST! Bag the leaves, throw them under your shrubs; save them any way you can for year-round composting that provides great, organic soil nutrients for your garden. Just as your garden needs nutrients for plants to flourish, the ACGA board needs a diverse committed board so that the organization can flourish. Fall is the time for ACGA board elections. We are looking for board members that have the time, energy and skills to contribute to ACGA and be part of the team that keeps ACGA growing. If you don’t have the time to be an ACGA board member, you can still donate your time to the organization by working on ACGA committees. This is great way to learn about ACGA and ease into a board member position in the future. And if you don’t have time to help, consider making a donation to ACGA. It’s never too early to consider making a year-end donation to ACGA in support of our training programs, conference scholarships and sponsorships, re-granting program, or to offer office support to ACGA to continue doing our work across North America. There is also time to make that special donation to celebrate ACGA’s 35th Anniversary – give $35 ($1 for every year), or give $70 ($2 for every year) or give …? Your donation is tax deductible and will be put to good use in moving the organization forward for the next 35 years!   More Gardens! Bill Maynard ACGA President

Letter from the President

September 2014

ACGA has had a very busy summer, planning and preparing for the conference, finalizing the Greening Review, and moving our national office from Columbus, Ohio to Atlanta, Georgia. I want to thank Franklin Park Conservatory for being the home of ACGA for many years; and wish to thank the Metro Atlanta Urban Farm for working with us to make the move an easy one. As you can see, we have had our hands full but we are getting caught up with the help of our new office person Alsie Parks. If you missed the 35th Annual ACGA Conference last month in Chicago you missed …great weather, great sessions, great tours, great people, great soiree, great networking …you get the picture, you missed a great time in Chicago! The conference is always a great way to re-energize your efforts and get motivated by all the networking and workshops. I want to thank everyone that attended from all parts of North America, Hawaii, South America and Korea; and a BIG thank you to the local Chicago Planning Team and all the volunteers that worked hard to make the event a success! We could not have done it without you! The Denver conference planning team is already working to make next year’s conference a special one. Watch for the call for presentations, and conference details coming in the newsletter and website later this year and early 2015; so start planning to be in the Mile High City in August 2015 for a great time! Or if you happen to be in Santa Rosa, California on September 9-11, 2014 for the National Heirloom Expo stop by the ACGA booth and say hi. Show me your ACGA membership card and I will give you some special gifts – it pays to be an ACGA member! And if you are an ACGA member, you are eligible to submit your application to become an ACGA Board Member. In the next few months, ACGA will be holding its annual board of director elections. Contact the ACGA office for more information and watch for other information in the newsletter. More Gardens! Bill Maynard ACGA President