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    Community Gardens: Site and Soil Development

    After the early organization and planning stages, action is needed to develop the site. Now is the time to refer back to the site plan that was developed. The organizational team will need to coordinate activities such as the removal of any obstacles that exist, marking out the garden, preparing the soil, and adding desired amenities, such as the water source, walkways or compost bins.

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    Community Gardens: Opening and Closing Dates

    It is often a question as to when your garden should open for the season and close in the fall. The group should consider climate and crop preference as these dates are set. First consider the spring ‘frost-free’ date and fall ‘frost’ date for your location. Review the South Dakota Frost Dates publication to see specific dates for your location in the state.

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    Ages & Stages in the Garden: Ages 9-11

    When working with upper elementary youth in a garden consider their physical development and skill level as you develop learning activities. Nine to eleven year olds have better coordination and reaction time by this age, however sometimes dues to growth spurs there can be short-term issues with balance and coordination. Additionally, these children have more body strength and their hand dexterity has increased.

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    Community Gardens: Communication

    The community garden program will need to determine its approach to connecting with the garden participants over the season and explain how those participants connect back to the leadership. Will you offer a phone number, email address or mail box for participants to utilize for contact? If the group is volunteer-run and hesitant about providing personal phone numbers, consider if there is a community agency that could be a local contact to filter or forward questions on behalf of the garden.

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    Farmers Market Food Safety: Hand Washing

    There are many situations and times when a grower should wash their hands. However, while working in the fields or at the farmers market, growers may find that there is no sink or running water available. Hand sanitizers and moist towelettes do not replace the need for hand washing. These products are not effective in removing bacteria when debris such as food particles or dirt are on hands.

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    SDSU Extension Garden-Based Education Newsletter

    SDSU Extension provides regular updates for garden educators though their Garden-Based Education Newsletter. This newsletter features lesson ideas linked to core subject areas, garden stories featuring projects across the state of South Dakota, horticultural information, links to educational videos, links to current grant opportunities, and a Pick it! Try It! Like It! feature- a produce item from the garden with recipe, preparation video and supporting lesson plans.

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    Garden Clubs & Associations

    Novice gardeners and master gardeners share a love of and respect for nature, which is one of the many reasons why they naturally seek out like-minded individuals to organize clubs or associations. Many cities and counties have their own clubs or associations and the following is not a complete listing, but rather a beginning resource for connecting with others in the gardening community.

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    Additional Local Food Marketing Venues

    Local food producers have a variety of options for marketing their products. Consider on-farms sales for those interested in connecting directly with the consumer at the farm. The set-up could include a farm store, a U-pick or Pick-Your-Own operation and other agritourism components. These features will be appealing to people seeking extremely fresh produce, canners and cooks that are seeking large quantities of product at a reduced cost, and families looking for a weekend activity, wanting their children to experience farm life and food production.

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    Cooperative Networks in Local Foods

    Local foods communities across the nation are working together to form cooperative networks in attempt to have a large portion of local food sales while reducing inputs. Working together to streamline issues related to production processes and inputs, distribution, processing, use or consumption, recycling and disposal of food wastes, and support services to operate can all be explored as individuals begin to collaborate. These articles provide some options for exploring producer and community partnerships.

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