The Garden thrives at Songaia because of all the love and attention it gets from a variety of people.
The Biogaians are members of the committee who care for the gardens and landscaping. Membership in the committee is guided by the "passion principle."
In 2010, the community decided that the garden needed more focused attention than it could get from the Biogaian committee. So after much deliberation we decided to hire someone to bring that focus. The Garden Manager spends many hours in the garden, but more importantly she provides a focus for the energy available, encourages long-term dreaming and planning, and invites community members to meet a particular need - like fixing the grow lights in the potting shed.
After our visit to the Bullock's Permaculture Homestead, we formed a Permaculture Intention Group (PIGs) to study, discuss, and implement permaculture principles at Songaia. Piglets include those of us in the community who don't think of themselves as gardeners, but understand that the health of the garden depends on the health of a larger system. What would we do without the engineers, electricians, cooks, architects, etc. Implementation of the PIGs has given us many opportunities think creatively around Songaia as a whole, living system.
The Piglets is a sub-group of the PIGs, consisting of those of us who have more day-to-day time to work in the garden. The Piglets spend a lot of time together in the garden, making compost, digging beds, planting, transplanting, etc. Things get so busy in the summer we also have a weekly meeting to discuss what needs to get done and to prioritize the work.
The energy of the garden draws other like-minded gardeners and of course there is always more to do. Volunteers come to us from our connections in the larger community. Casual conversations about Songaia engender a curiosity about the garden and then friends who have no garden of their own find the Songaia garden a great way to get their hands dirty.
As a part of their degree programs, Bastyr University students are required to do 40 or more hours of volunteer work in their field of study. Over the past few years we have developed ways for students from the Nutrition and Dietetic, Holistic Landscape Design and Herbal Medicine departments to collaborate with us in the garden and the kitchen.