Let's Get Growing: Connect

Let’s Get Growing: Connect offers tools to help build a coordinated communication campaign that ensures support for a garden program year-round, even during the summer months when harvests peak and volunteers vacation. Any of these tools can be used by garden coordinators or child nutrition team members to build a personalized communication strategy to help keep communities engaged and gardens successful. Tools can be used by school and child care center staff, as well as community members to strengthen engagement.

Take-Home Parent Flyer Template

Backpack stuffers offer one of the most effective ways to get your message front and center with guardians. This template can be personalized to ensure your message takes center stage. This flyer can be used to gather contact information to strengthen a volunteer campaign. Use this resource in tandem with the volunteer tracking template to keep all volunteer information organized and updated. 

Volunteer Tracking Template
Download this easy to use Excel template to organize the contact information and job interests from your volunteers. This tracking document will help keep responses you receive from take-home flyers or emails organized so you are ready to activate when the time comes. Use the Parent Flyer to generate the information needed to complete this excel template. And then strengthen your communication using your new contact list!

Tips for using this Excel document
        • Garden Volunteer Sign-up Sheet: Use the first sheet of the Excel document to record volunteer information. Respondents will indicate which job they prefer in the response section of the parent flyer. Enter volunteer names in the Name column, press the tab or right arrow key to navigate to the next column and a small grey box with a down arrow on it will appear on the right hand side. Click the arrow and the drop down list will appear. Select the job and then press the tab key to navigate to the next column. Capture any notes relevant to the volunteer in the Notes column such as special skills or interests. 
        • Volunteer Calendar: The second sheet of this Excel document includes a calendar for you to update during the summer months. Based on responses from the parent flyer, update the information on the calendar and then share with your contact list. This way, everyone will know the volunteer schedule and who to contact if a change in responsibility is needed.   

Sample Press Releases
A press release is a great tool for connecting with the local media. Following certain style guidelines and including relevant information increases the chance that your press release will grab the attention of a publication or media outlet. Download one or both of the sample press releases for use at different times during the year, and update the italicized and highlighted content to make the story your own. All content should be approved by your organizations leadership and communication team prior to sending to media. If you do not have a communication team, ensure the language is approved through the appropriate chain of command. 

Sample Email Language
Email communications have become a staple for parents, teachers and administrators. They are a fast way to reach many people and they enable an immediate, trackable response. Use the sample language provided to draft your own email message to potential volunteers. 

Sample Social Media Posts
Social media enables organizations to share content in real time, connect with different audiences, and post photos and videos. Coordinating social media campaigns ahead of time can take the stress out of daily posts and help to amplify a message. Use the sample language provided to help get you started or craft your own messages to reach your target audience.

Assistance available in English and Spanish. Please call 877-TEX-MEAL (877-839-6325) for help.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410
Fax: (202) 690-7442; or
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Texas Department of Agriculture

Commissioner Sid Miller