The Central Server Entity

The central server entity will do the “heavy lifting” that is beyond the ability of small, neighborhood-based organizations, particularly while they are in the midst of their start-up phase. With expertise in land use and real estate transactions, the central server can skillfully negotiate with local government to secure publicly-owned lands for agriculture, obtain favorable tax treatment, as well as gain access to city services to provide needed infrastructure to gardens (water in particular). In addition, the central server could help provide training and technical support to satellite organizations. These are not only more cost-effective to provide in group settings, but also create opportunities to build connections between satellite organizations. Instead of funders having to deal with numerous (and similar) funding applications for a myriad of neighborhood-based organizations, the central server will provide a single point of connection to funders, which can increase the collective leverage of these organizations far beyond what they could accomplish individually. (Of course, satellite organizations may also seek funding for their own operations.)

The term “server” is key to the concept of the central server. This entity exists to serve the satellite entities, and in that sense this organization works for each of the neighborhoods it serves. And because of the multiple stakeholders involved in this effort, the central server (and its staff) will have to be highly skilled at “playing well with others”, studiously avoiding turf battles or playing favorites in order to protect their position as a universally trusted entity. This will be no simple matter, in particular in cities where local elected officials may have a strong say in how projects are (or are not) developed in their districts.