We got lucky in the Ville-Marie “arrondissement” because the horticultural counselor called me back quickly and gave me the opportunity to come recruit volunteers at the annual garden meetings in his area. The first meeting I presented at was at Low Income Housing community garden (followed by 2 other garden meetings in the following weeks). Initially I asked him if I could attend the assemblies for the 2 largest gardens in his area (as I thought I had more chances of getting recruits) but he actually suggested also coming to this particular low income housing garden. He explained that the diverse immigrant community in the garden were likely to be using more inputs than some of the other gardens because they produce multiple crops a year and that getting volunteers at this garden would give me a little variety.
At the beginning of the meeting I was allowed to give a little 2 minute (bilingual because the community was very diverse) explanation of the project and then my field assistant went around the room asking volunteers to write down their name and contact information so that we can contact them once they were gardening, He also handed out a little card with my contact information in case they had any questions. We got 15 volunteers. I know they probably won’t all end up answering the survey but its still great to have a lot of initial sign-ups.
Before showing up to the meeting I had printed 40 copies of the survey with consent forms (half English and half French), sign-up sheets, contact information cards, and 20 copies of harvest tracking documents. I had also prepared a little speech explaining my research, what I was asking of them, and the benefit of the research and the fact that it would all stay anonymous and I would give them a little summary report at the end of the year. However, the horticultural counselor told me that with this audience it would actually be better to not show the survey and just say my project was generally about fertilizer application in community gardens. Once people have signed-up I can explain to the individuals the details, but he said that that much information up-front would be scary to them. I am really thankful that I have had access to such expert knowledge up-front and I will simply use all that material later on in the process.