Sunday, June 25, 2017

‘Grow forth’

Enterprising People Business Radio Talk presents
A BUSINESS CONVERSATION WITH ROSALIND BROOKS

‘Grow forth’

BY KIMBERLY BAILEY-TUREAUD

Rosalind Brooks, founder of Vegas Roots Community Garden.

As we welcome the sense of renewal that arrives with spring, Vegas Roots Community Garden Executive Director Rosalind Brooks discusses the evolution of a special place where — no matter the season — growth is the order of the day.

Are you the founder of Vegas Roots Community Garden?

Yes, I started the garden in March of 2010, so it has been four years. It is really doing wonderful. We are growing a lot of vegetables for the community. There is a stream of volunteers that come in, and the schools are frequenting the garden with field trips.

How is the community garden funded?

Hustling. I haven’t found a lot of grants for operation. I have found a lot of programming-based grants that offer a thousand here and there for specific activities for children.

Is there a cost to visit the garden?

It’s free to visit the garden. We do charge for the organic produce, $1 for a bunch. The biggest source of our income comes from the raised bed spaces or garden plots that we rent. It offers someone their own space to grow their garden in a 10X50 square feet space. This is where the money comes from to support the garden.

How did you come up with the concept for a community garden?

I have always been interested in health and nutrition. I would hold small workshops for women who wanted to lose weight and improve their internal health. One day I attended a business meeting, and was having a conversation with Frank Hawkins. I said, “It would be great if we had something local in our community to actually purchase the organic, healthy vegetables and fruits that I have been preaching about.” He said that he had tried to donate 5 acres of vacant land to others who said they wanted to start a community garden, but they never followed through. He looked at me and said, “Why don’t you do it?” So after going over to see the land, and agreeing to start the community garden, I had to clear the land of caliche [a kind of rock], trash, glass, debris, old trailers and wires. It took me and a team of workers … three months to clear the donated plot of land.

Why did you establish the community garden as a nonprofit?

After the groundbreaking, I quickly realized that people would not give you a financial donation unless they were getting a tax write-off. So, I knew I had to establish a nonprofit to help financially support the community garden. Initially, my husband and I put in $3,000. So I filled out the paperwork for my  501(c)(3) nonprofit status and in 39 days it was approved.

For more information on the Vegas Roots Community Garden, go online to Vegasroots.org

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