Flexibility: Medium

Social Engagement: High

What’s What: If you have a green thumb and feel most connected to life when you’re digging in the dirt, your local gardening club or community garden needs you! Volunteer gardeners beautify public spaces and follow-up with routine care to keep plants healthy and blooming. They also help plant vegetables, plan additional gardens and regularly prune, water, weed and remove litter and debris.

Amava Take: A good, honest, dirty sweat-and-ache does a body good. Gardening has a range of physical and mental health benefits and studies suggest gardeners live longer and are less stressed. Then there is the added bonus of reaping what you sow. No fruit or vegetables ever taste better than those you’ve grown with your own hands. And who doesn’t want to be surrounded by beautiful flowers all over town?

From the Front Lines:

What kinds of candidates are you looking for to fill these positions?

People who aren’t afraid to get sweaty and dirty.

Any tips for first-timers to make it a productive and fulfilling experience?

Be a good listener and you’ll likely learn a lot of new tips. Gardening enthusiasts love sharing knowledge.

What’s a typical daily schedule like?

Once the planting is done, the activity depends on what other needs there are that day. Typically that involves watering and pulling weeds.

From the Trenches:  

What’s the most satisfying part of the experience?

I love to watch something grow from nothing to something.

How would you describe the hard parts?

It’s so frustrating when rabbits and other plant eating animals and insects undermine my hard work.

What’s your favorite flower or vegetable to grow?

The Chinese 5 Color Pepper is as pretty as a flower. It’s a hot pepper that grows five different colors on the same plant. It’s stunning! Plus it really turns up the heat in a dish.

Special Requirements: None, just the desire to help.

Related Classes: Ron Finley Teaches Gardening, Growing Plants for Fun and Profit, Start Your Own Edible Garden, Food Gardening

Finding a Position: Most municipalities have at least one garden club that is responsible for planting and maintaining flowers in public spaces. Each state also has at least one club that is often a feeder to local clubs. Aside from volunteer gigs, state and local clubs provide a resource for information, news, contests, events and conferences. The first place to check for a local club is your town or county’s website. Look for “garden clubs” and “community gardens” or call your town clerk or administrator for guidance. You can also search National Garden Clubs for gardening clubs in your state. The Garden Clubs of America has information on clubs in each state and also awards scholarships to promote a greater understanding of the interdependence of horticulture, environmental protection, and community improvement. The American Community Garden Association has information on starting a community garden and also lists the locations of community gardens nationwide.