I am the founder of MakeIt Grow, a community garden that grows in the back yard of a maker space in Nashua, NH called MakeIt Labs. The purpose of my project is to reclaim outdoor space with gardens. This project came about because I had an aloe plant that I had with me all the years I lived in apartments. I still live in an apartment, and I have never had a yard to grow marigolds, or a trellis to water ivy or a safe patch of land to grow vegetables. Last winter, I forgot about my aloe plant and she froze to death on the three season porch. This project is a tribute to anyone who has a khaki-colored to black thumb. You can grow a garden, and you can re-grow your narrative.
What is a maker space? It is a facility that provides shared resources for people to complete their projects. What happened with my project is this thing called cross pollination, which basically means that overlapping interests and multiple people contribute in meaningful and unexpected ways.
In May 2019, I became a member of a maker space in Nashua, NH. At orientation, I told the leadership that I was interested in starting a community garden, and they encouraged me to locate interested makers who wanted to participate in building and maintaining the gardens. So, I reached out to members on the everybody channel on Slack which is the workspace social media platform used to communicate with other members of the maker space. In all, there were seven interested members, three of whom I named in my proposal to the board. Upon approval of my project, we had amassed our interested members and been given a budget of $400 to build our garden.
Using the Slack garden channel, our club named ourselves, MakeIt Grow, after the name of our maker space, MakeIt Labs. It was on the garden channel that we voted on which crops to grow, as well as coordinated times to meet. We planned a pizza party to plan our gardens. We took a tour of the back yard of the labs, and sketched out from a Google maps picture of the labs where we wanted to place the gardens. Next, we created real-time Excel spreadsheets that determined the amount of money and equipment we would need. Originally, I had wanted to build six gardens, but we determined there was really only enough money for two raised beds. I offered to pay for the third raised bed because I figured it would be enough space for us to grow the amount of vegetables we had to grow.
About a year before I started this project, I reached out to the University of New Hampshire’s Cooperative Extension and they donated non-GMO organic seeds for this project: radish, beets, red onion, crown pumpkin, cantaloupe, watermelon, stringless peas, green beans, cucumber, zucchini, carrot, lettuce, and spinach. It was due to this generous donation that we opted to grow our plants from seeds and therefore saved a ton of money.