Community Coffee II
Our second Community Coffee was all that we had hoped for. A consistent 10% of invitees visited Connelly Gardens, including families and pets. Our farm companions, Lexi and Nika were thrilled to have someone to play with! The beauty of these coffees cannot be expressed in words. There is great power in human relationships. The Community Coffee idea gives community members an excuse to come together. Our plan is to host these events quarterly.
The week of the event, reminder signs were posted in high-traffic areas of the neighborhood.
The number of small farms in San Diego County is steadily declining due to the high costs of land and water. Even in the rural town of Ramona, there are few farms.
In the fall of 2008, Connelly Gardens began inviting neighbors to visit/ become familiar with the farm. Residents on the east end of Ramona, on the blocks surrounding the farm, were surprized to find cheerful flyers rolled up and tied to their mailboxes with colorful ribbon.
Community Coffee I
The first Community Coffee was a smashing success. Ten percent of invitees attended. Neighbors shared the history of their homes and properties, finding common themes and points of interest together. Some spoke of their previous experiences on farms, offering farming and chicken-raising advice to farmer Tim. Others planned projects and passed business cards and contact info. A good time was had by all and the Community Coffee idea had begun to sprout.
The purpose of the Community Coffees is to give community members a chance to visit their local farm/food source, meet their neighbors (who have all been through two wildfire disasters in the last five years), and build a sense of community.
We experimented with our marketing for Community Coffee III. This time we did not walk door-to-door tying brightly colored invitations to our farm nieghbors' mailboxes, instead we put up brightly colored posters in high-traffic locations advertising the upcoming Community Coffee AND our new website address (where they could go for details).
Another change was that for Community Coffee III, we expanded our "catchment area" to include one more block south and one more block west, for a total of four rural "blocks" surrounding the farm.
A total of nine community members from seven households attended Community Coffee III. This was approximately 3% of the total number invited, which was a lower turnout than for Community Coffees I & II. This could have been due to the different approach to advertising (posters in high traffic areas vs flyers tied to mailboxes).
We had a great time having meaningful conversation with our fellow East-end Ramonans. We found we had something in common with each neighbor. We are looking forward to meeting again sometime soon. Next time we plan to send email invitations to those whose email addresses we have, AND put up posters. Since then we have hosted many get-togethers, all of them with great turnout.
Community members were greeted with a display of fresh-picked Connelly Gardens' produce, locally baked bagels and a choice of coffee, tea or water. A communications board was set out but was not utilzed due to the small number of attendees.