More than 10 people came out to participate as volunteers for a conference being held by the American Community Gardening Association (ACGA). The conference is called Gardens of Diversity.
Recruitment is starting now and will be ongoing. The conference is scheduled for October 1-3, 2004 at the Marriott Hotel at Yonge and Carleton. The people that are interested in volunteering all have common interests to increase their skills.
One woman is a gardener with a private school. Another woman had a vision of green cities. A man is a gardener with The City of Toronto. Another woman is a teacher who is interested in using the conference as the focus of a school project.
Scott was attending the volunteer recruitment for the opportunity to develop marketable skills as he is looking for a job.
“I’ve been a volunteer gardener with Evergreen (one of the organizations that are organizing the recruitment) for the last 6 years,” says Scott.
Evergreen is one of the organizations sponsoring the conference along with Food Share.
This is the first time that the ACGA conference is being held in Toronto. The last time it was in a Canadian city it was in Montreal. The conference is depending on its volunteers to make it a success.
“It’s a fundraiser (the conference) and the American Community Garden Association is a completely volunteer run organization,” says Sarah Brierley with Evergreen.
The volunteers have many different opportunities to lend their skills, from helping out with tour groups to making sure there is diversity on all of the committees. Scott is hoping to use his best skills.
“I have very good communications skills, an eye for detail and I’m pretty good at what I do (gardening),” says Scott. “Finding something that is challenging enough, but that I can handle as well is what I want to do.”
One of the goals of the Gardens of Diversity conference is to have more of a Canadian presence in the American Community Gardening Association. Volunteers can propose to present at the conference with ideas from the simple to the complex. The organizers are still working out with the City of Toronto what their involvement in the conference will be.
The volunteers get points for their involvement. Once they’ve accumulated a number of points, they can attend workshops at the conference that would normally cost them $250 to attend the events.
For more information on how you can become a volunteer for the Gardens of Diversity conference with the American Community Garden Association being held in Toronto from October 1-3, 2004 contact Rhonda Teitel-Payne with the Volunteer Coordination and Hospitality Committee, 416-652-7867 ext.22, Rhonda@thestop.org.