Library seeks 2024 Gardener in Residence for Discovery Garden

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Mesa County Libraries are launching a unique opportunity for someone who knows and loves gardening and can share their knowledge with the public.

The new Mesa County Libraries Gardener in Residence (GIR) will be based in the Discovery Garden at Fifth Street and Chipeta Avenue and will be responsible for operating and maintaining the garden space. The GIR will give at least two public presentations on garden-related topics and will consult with library staff on other garden-related programs.

Modeled after the library’s successful Artist in Residence program, the GIR program aims to make the Discovery Garden a showcase of techniques in backyard food production, gardening styles, composting, and principles of permaculture.

The GIR position lasts approximately six months (April through September 2024), and the GIR will receive a $6,000 stipend generously provided by the Mesa County Libraries Foundation and Friends of the Mesa County Libraries.

Details about the GIR opportunity — along with application instructions — are listed below.

About the Gardener in Residence program

The Gardener in Residence coordinates and performs garden activities in the Mesa County Libraries Discovery Garden at Fifth Street and Chipeta Avenue in Grand Junction.

The Discovery Garden is a public demonstration and education garden highlighting an array of gardening techniques and featuring a children’s area, sculpture benches made by local artists, and programming space. It is visited by hundreds of school children, university students interested in permaculture, adults seeking information about various gardening methods, and Mesa County residents seeking a quiet place for enjoyment and reflection. Approximately 25 library volunteers assist with the garden.

The Discovery Garden is funded primarily by grants and donations and is maintained by volunteers. Creation of the Discovery Garden began in 2018, and its buildout to cover approximately one-quarter block was completed in 2021. Now that construction is complete, the Discovery Garden is shifting its focus to operations and library/garden programming. Volunteers from the Garden Advisory Committee developed a Garden Operating Plan that will provide a set of guidelines for planting, harvest, and maintenance.

In consultation with the Garden Advisory Committee and the library’s Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator and with support from local volunteers, the Gardener in Residence (GIR) organizes and performs garden activities — such as planting, vegetable harvest, irrigation, gardenscape maintenance, etc. — in accordance with the Garden Operating Plan. In addition, the GIR is expected to present two public programs on garden-related topics and consult with library staff on other programming in the garden. A corner of the garden is available for the GIR to pursue a “personal garden project” of their choosing. One Gardener in Residence will be selected for the 2024 season.

The GIR’s tenure runs from April 1 through Sept. 30, 2024. The GIR will be paid a stipend provided by Friends of the Mesa County Libraries and the Mesa County Libraries Foundation. Time commitment is expected to be approximately 20 hours per week.

Eligibility

Experienced gardeners 18 and older, residing in Mesa County, Colorado, and possessing a valid library card may apply. Applicants will be required to undergo a background check.

Selection Criteria

  • Knowledgeable about permaculture principles and practices in western Colorado and willing to learn more about the subject.
  • Familiarity with safe and proper use of garden tools and basic maintenance, operation, and repair of a garden irrigation system.
  • Ability to politely engage with Discovery Garden visitors to answer questions and discuss the garden.
  • Ability to work well with a variety of garden volunteers and library staff.
  • Ability to teach and conduct workshops or presentations.
  • Readiness to engage with and benefit from the residency experience.

Application Process

Candidates interested in applying for the 2024 Gardener in Residence position should email a cover letter and resume to garden@mcpld.org outlining gardening experience and other experience relevant to the Selection Criteria.

Residencies will be determined by a panel of Mesa County Libraries staff and a representative of the organizations providing the residency stipend.

Applications will be accepted until 6 p.m. Friday, March 1st, 2024. Interviews and selection will occur by March 18th.

Gardener in Residence’s Responsibility

While in the Discovery Garden or on library premises, the Gardener in Residence is expected to comply with the library’s Code of Conduct. In addition, the Gardener in Residence is expected to:

  • Organize and perform garden activities — such as planting, vegetable harvest, irrigation, gardenscape maintenance, etc. — in accordance with the Garden Operating Plan.
  • Spend approximately 20 hours per week in the Discovery Garden, being available to answer questions from the public about the garden, or about gardening topics.
  • Maintain scheduled “office hours” in the garden as part of the 20-hour weekly commitment.
  • Attend monthly meetings of the Discovery Garden Advisory Committee that occur during the term of the residency.
  • Present two public programs or workshops on garden-related topics and consult with library staff on other programming in the garden.
  • Maintain the irrigation system in the Discovery Garden.
  • Ensure garden plants are appropriately watered according to their needs.
  • Regularly weed and clean up the garden.
  • Consult with the library’s Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator on the availability and use of volunteers for plantings, workdays, and projects in the garden.
  • Work with volunteers to accomplish garden tasks.
  • Maintain compost bins, hoop house, and other garden features.
  • If so desired, use a space in the garden for a one-season personal garden project.

Questions about the GIR may be emailed to garden@mcpld.org

Posted in Discovery Garden, General, Library News.

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