TOPIC 3: Types of work and activities during the training

TOPIC 3: Types of work and activities during the training

In this section you will find inspiration and practical activities to try in your own community garden. Through them, members and the wider public will be inspired directly and indirectly to change their own attitudes when thinking about climate change mitigation issues and take away not only theoretical but also practical steps to engage themselves.

Do you have an existing community of gardeners? If it’s already up and running, you can jump right into specific activities to mitigate the impacts of climate change. If you are just starting a garden, a large number of members have recently renewed and the community is just starting to (re)form, start with community-building activities.

We are getting acquainted with community-creating activities:

In addition to the educational character, some activities have a great community-building effect and are suitable for the establishment of a community and during the life of the garden. It is necessary for people to get to know each other over time and, in addition to names, to know about each other’s personal skills and expertise, values, opinions and attitudes.

Tips from practice:

  • It’s good to balance creating physically and mentally. Therefore, building the actual garden facilities is as important as discussing or planning a shared vision, leading to a better understanding of the individual participants and the climate resilience of the community garden.
  • Celebrations are the most popular events for community garden members and the wider public can be invited. They are also a natural part of wrapping up the process of visioning and implementation.

Examples of community-building activities:

  • Familiarisation activity 1, Energiser, Goal: Participants will use their creativity to get to know each other informally. Process: Hand out a name tag and a pen to all participants. Have them draw on the name tag the animal (element, item in the community garden,…) that best describes them. Then share in a circle.
  • Familiarisation activity 2, Energiser, Goal: Simple interaction of participants and division into smaller teams. Process: Cut several pictures (quotes, jokes,…) into 2-3 parts, give each participant 1 part and invite everyone to find their team according to them.
  • Familiarisation activity 3, Energiser, Goal: To get the participants moving and show the range of attitudes of the whole group. Process: The activity facilitator marks the 2 ends of an imaginary scale on the ground and says different statements in turn, to which the participants respond and stand on the scale according to the degree of agreement with the statement. Example statement: I love healthy food (left: Absolutely yes – right: I don’t care), Climate change is important to me (Very important – not important).
  • Introduction activity 1, Icebreaker, Goal: Participants get to know each other by name. Process: Explain the procedure for writing names on the name tag. Have participants address each other randomly. Have each participant write 1 letter of their name from another participant, with the understanding that to write each letter, the participant must tell the other participant something interesting about themselves.
  • Introduction activity 2, Icebreaker, Goal: Participants will get to know each other by name and personal characteristics. Process: Explain the aim for writing names on the name tag. Have participants address each other randomly. Each person introduces themselves by name, combining each letter of the name with a descriptive adjective: e.g. ALAN – Ambitious, Loving food, Active, Non-smoker. To write a single letter, another participant should always be approached.
  • Introduction activity 3, Icebreaker, Goal: Deeper understanding of the participants. Process: Three sentences should be true and one false. After time to think, have the others guess which is not true. You can use this by having others raise their hands for each sentence and then have the participant who was introduced confirm the false sentence.
  • Introduction activity 4, Icebreaker, Goal: Creative engagement and informal introduction of participants. Process:  Prepare and distribute paper and pens to everyone. Explain the procedure. Have participants draw a favourite thing, plant or animal and have others guess what it is. You can represent in a circle one at a time, or split into 2-3 smaller groups if you have a large group of participants. After guessing, the participant can add the reason for drawing.

We will discuss planning learning activities more in Lesson 4, TOPIC 2: How to plan inspiring learning activities.

Benefits of mulching, Source:

An important component is the placement of a bulletin board or info sign at the entrance to the garden with the name, a map of the garden, opening hours, contact information, website or social network page, operating rules, a list of upcoming events or how to become a member of the garden. Visible information can attract new people interested in getting involved in activities organised at the garden.

Individual education in the garden area. An important component of the educational activities is the placement of instructional descriptions, info signs or symbols to help garden members and visitors most often with understanding:

  • what the element is used for in the garden
  • which plant it is
  • what the plant is used for

It is appropriate to describe herbs, perennials, elements such as: composter, composting toilet, insect house, different types of beds, herb spiral, beetle house, hedgehog dwelling, bird feeders, bird or insect feeders for water, greenhouse, rainwater catchment, … For self-study you can create, for example, check lists of what can be found in the garden. Ideally, print or laminate them for repeated use and offer them to visitors to walk around the garden and find. 2 versions may be suitable: for adults and for children ideally with pictures too. Themed versions can also be made: herbs, vegetables, fruits, animals, garden equipment,…

If you want to start planning your own learning activity, see Lesson 4, TOPIC 2: How to plan inspiring learning activities.

Additional materials

Kokoza, Metodika práce s komunitou, 2023 (Internal document)

10 great activities to break the ice with your students [online], 2012.