Materials and Tools
The best way to keep your budget low is by using second-hand and found materials. As a last resort, there’s always Home Depot, Lowes, and other big box stores. However, we suggest you stay local if you can! In fact, you can start in your own neighborhood. Do your neighbors have materials or tools they’d like to contribute or share? Are there dumped materials that you can use like tires and log slabs?
If you’re not able to buy your own tools, there are a few options for you to use. Grow Pittsburgh has a Garden Resource Center which lends tools to individuals, and Pittsburgh Cares has a tool shed which lends tools to Non-Profit organizations.
Hold a Volunteer Event
If you’ve reached this point in your project, that means you’ve accomplished all of the detailed work of engaging your community, designing a vacant lot, fundraising, and getting permission. You’re now ready for the hands-on, fun part of the project!
As you know, many hands make light work. Many hands also means more neighbors talking to each other, and more residents developing a connection with the places around them. Getting volunteers involved in your project is the single best way to turn a vacant lot project into something that is truly community-driven. As a volunteer leader, your role is to be prepared, caring and positive. The most work will get done if you can create an energetic and fun environment. Remember to lead by example. If you spend a lot of time standing by the snacks rather than getting your hands in the dirt, your volunteers probably will too. Volunteers are valued at $21.94 an hour. Remember that they are cheerleaders for your project, and make sure to show your appreciation.