What role can I play in Yarducopia? Yard owners provide yard space for a 100 sf garden, they can also usually help build the garden and often help with the garden… and they get half the produce (minus 10% to charity).  Garden volunteers help build the garden and maintain it (this mainly involves watering and harvesting.)  Build volunteers help build some gardens.

What does it cost to participate in Yarducopia?  It doesn’t cost anything to participate as a gardening volunteer.  If you are the yard owner, we charge $100, which helps cover the cost of the garden materials and labor to build the garden, but we will not turn you away from the program for lack of ability to pay – just talk to us about it!  You end up with a fertile garden with excellent soil when the season is over!

What is provided by Yarducopia?  We will bring most of the materials necessary to build a 100 square foot sheet mulch garden, tools to build it, and edible plants and seeds to plant in it.  If you have or can gather things like leaves, grass trimmings, large cardboard sheets, newspaper, coffee grounds, spent grain, finished or unfinished compost that will help with the build!

What do I need to supply? If you are the gardening volunteer, nothing but labor!  If you are the homeowner, you need to have a way to water the garden available (generally a hose on an outside spigot that reaches the garden – preferably with a spray nozzle.)  Hand tools for weeding or harvest can be useful, bit are not absolutely necessary.  The homeowner also needs to make sure the gardener can access the garden at the approved times.

Do I need to know how to garden?  No!  Our whole point is to help people learn to garden and have access to clean, healthy food!  We will come and build and plant the garden with you.  We will talk about how to water and care for the garden at this time.  We are available all summer to answer your calls and emails and come visit your garden if you have questions on it, and will do a check in visit mid-season.  Additionally, this site has a great series of short how-to videos and we post seasonally appropriate updates on Facebook.

What if I volunteer my yard, but you don’t find me a garden volunteer?  Strangely, we have way more yards than volunteers every year.  If we do not find a match for you, you can try to find your own match – maybe you have a friend, tenant, neighbor or relative near by that would like to help with your garden and share the produce?

Can I get a garden built in my yard even if I do not have a garden volunteer partner? Our first priority is to build gardens for people looking for space to garden and to help schools and other non-profits.  With the time left over, we would be happy to build you a garden, but we will have to charge a consulting fee of $50/hr.  You should expect it to take 4 hours to build the garden if you help, with an additional hour to source materials if you do not provide them.

Is it first come, first served?  We have the resources to build about 20 gardens each year.  We try to find a garden for every garden volunteer searching for one, and we try to be fair about it.  We have found that matches are most successful when the participants live very close to each other (convenience and proximity make for a well-cared for garden!)  We start matching folks up in mid-April, and we do it by looking at a map of all of the people looking for partners and finding those that live close to each other.  You have the best chance of being chosen to participate if you are looking to be a garden volunteer, if you sign up before mid-April, and/or if you live within a mile of a potential match.

Do you background check participants? No, we do not, but we encourage you to get the information and permission to do so if you would like to.  Participants will work out details of yard access, etc and sign an agreement that starts with this statement: The following is a good faith agreement, an outline of mutual expectations between the gardeners, the homeowners who offer their space, water, purchase of seeds and starts and Alaska Community Action on Toxics who teaches organic gardening techniques to the gardeners.  This agreement exists to put on paper our mutual understanding of how and why yard space is offered, how and why garden volunteers will be on homeowners property and the Yarducopia program scope as offered by Alaska Community Action on Toxics.  It is not, nor is it intended to be an enforceable legal document.

I live in Eagle River, or Girdwood, or Wasilla, or Kake – can I have a Yarducopia garden?  So far, we are limited by time and other resources to work in the metro-Anchorage Area.  There is no set boundary, and you are welcome to sign up, but the further out you go from the denser regions of Anchorage, the less likely we will find a nearby match to garden with you.  We also usually need to make 2 to 4 trips to every garden during the build season, and additional visits in the season.  This becomes difficult the further out we go.  Every year, though, we try to help out at least one community or non-profit organization elsewhere in Alaska in addition to our normal Anchorage gardens.  Additionally, we are always happy to consult with you on gardening and how to set up a yard or land share with your neighbors,  so please feel free to contact Michelle at garden@akaction.org to see how we can help your project!  And we would love to go to Kake 🙂


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