How to Create Your Own Sunflower Project

Starting a Sunflower+ Project: Part 1

Short Version

  • Find a lot/site
  • Secure approval to use the site
  • Test the soil (go or no go decision on project)
  • Turn over the soil
  • Plant the seeds
  • Watch them grow

Narrative

The secret to a successful, volunteer driven, labor of love like the Sunflower+ Project: STL is simplicity. It is a low budget, low cost, occasionally volunteer intensive beautification project with a lot of other community benefits as well.

The neighborhood of our first site was interested in this sort of project. We were awarded a garden lease and $5k in startup funds as a winning entry in a design competition geared towards reimagining vacant, urban land from liability to asset. This contest had a sustainability focus as well. The contest process gave us opportunities to review with neighborhood stakeholders and receive feedback from folks inside and outside of our team. Community buy-in and feedback from the beginning is critical to all neighborhood work. People in neighborhoods have their own, busy lives and are not likely to be impressed with people providing ‘a gift’ that they have not asked for or identified themselves.

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