A working bee, "permablitz," or PET day (People Energy Transfer) can be useful for working on a big project, for building community and for providing informal education. However, poor planning can make them stressful and counterproductive. Failing to plan is planning to fail. Before 2 to 22 people show up on your property, it pays to be organized and prepared. Here are a few words of advice for running a smooth and productive bee.
First, make sure that you have a project that is labor intensive but requires low skills. In this case, I wanted to "renovate" this garden bed.
But I also had other chores ready, like turning the compost pile and building a new compost pile.
A half an hour before anyone arrives, make sure you have all of your tools and materials ready to go. Most people don't like standing around waiting for you to get organized if you leave it until after they arrive. Also, you're not taking advantage of all of the "person hours" if you're not prepared in advance.
Some tools can be paired and ready to go. For example, this couple is ready for someone to collect grass mulch from the other side of the house.
And finally, I like to have an example of what we'll be doing already completed for people to see. As part of "renovating"this garden bed, I've put newspapers along the outside edges to help slow down invasive grasses such as couch and kikuyu.
It pays to be organized in order to get the most possible work done, but also to make sure it is done to your liking. Nothing is worse than having to undo something that someone has done poorly because lack of clear directions.
And don't forget to make it fun, and share a cuppa afterward.