Our Fall/Winter/Spring fundraising campaign this year will be to raise a pool of funds to use as stipends for paid labor of community members doing stewardship and maintenance work on our community growing and public harvest sites.
OUR WIN-WIN-WIN CAMPAIGN
One of our challenges through the years has been recruiting enough volunteers to maintain and steward our project sites. As our project sites grow, that challenge is even greater and more important. Alchemical Nursery started public forest gardening in 2012 with the creation of the Rahma Edible Food Forest Snack Garden in the Southside at 3100 South Salina St in partnership with the Rahma Free Health Clinic. In 2013 we moved our home offices to the Bitternut Homestead on Otisco St, where we manage the propagation and potting for our annual Spring native, edible perennial plants fundraising sale in partnership with the Bread and Roses Collective. In 2015, we developed the 610 Gifford Street Community Garden on a leased Land Bank property. In 2018 we began stewarding the Gifford Shonnard Meadow Orchard to preserve peach trees, apple trees, and black currant bushes that had been abandoned. And now in 2020 we are launching The Depot Tool Share, Bike Kitchen, and Seed Library at 713 Marcellus St, in addition to geographically-distributed COVID19 relief efforts including our Raised Beds for Food Sovereignty mutual aid campaign.
Our project sites are located in two of the poorest census tracts in the city. Syracuse’s census tract 30, the Near Westside, has a median household income of only $12,823; census tract 58, part of the Southside, has a median household income of only $26,364 (https://datausa.io/profile/geo/syracuse-ny/#economy). In order to bolster the resiliency of these communities, we must bring resources into them. And so we ask for your help in developing our “ANP Paid Garden Stewards Program” by donating to the campaign that will create a pool of money that will be:
- a WIN for residents of our project site communities by providing paid working hours;
- a WIN for Alchemical in providing a much higher level of needed maintenance and development of the project sites than can be achieved on a volunteers-only basis;
- a WIN for Syracuse by enhancing and demonstrating the ecological and economic value of community growing landscapes as a integral part of our city to be initiated and nurtured.
We hold no naive notions that we will be able to hire full-time staff in the next year. Nonetheless we know that for many people (for example previously incarcerated persons re-entering the workforce, students needing part-time work, or people working in low-wage jobs seeking to supplement their income with fulfilling hands-on work), the need is great and we hope to provide:
- some income from honest-to-goodness, dirt-under-your-fingernails, sweat-on-the-nape-of-your-neck, fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-in-your-arms work,
- connection to neighborhood greening project sites and residents.
Please help by contributing to the Paid Garden Stewards Program – https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/anp-paid-garden-stewards-program
Our goal is to raise $11,683.20 which will provide for employment of one or more individuals from April through October for a total of 600 stewardship hours at one or more of our project sites. This will be our biggest campaign raise of funds from our supporters and members in the history of our activism, but after 10 years of operations and resilience, we can take this next step with you. This will move us forward in a proactive vision of a garden city that provides right livelihood in ecological landscaping and food production The challenge is to convert more of your personal charitable budget to land-based educational and work assets that gives people work towards right livelihood, while growing greater momentum over time, for people who are struggling in our community.
BASE GOAL: 20 hours/week for 30 weeks (from April-October) at $16/hour living wage rate = $9,600 gross wage payments. Plus 8% wage taxes ($768). Plus 6.7% workers comp NYS Insurance Fund rate for class code 0042 Landscape Gardening ($643.20). Total cost = $11,011.20.
STRETCH GOAL: Our stretch goal for any monies raised above and beyond this initial amount will be used for engaging the services of a payroll/human resources agency to provide an employee handbook, handle check writing, and provide tax and insurance oversight for our employees.