Re: CYBERGARDENS: license questions and concerns
- Subject: [cg] Re: CYBERGARDENS: license questions and concerns
- From: Adam36055@aol.com
- Date: Thu, 6 Feb 2003 09:48:19 EST
Greetings from the Clinton Community Garden! We were founded in 1978 and were
the first NYC Community Garden to have a Parks Dept. license agreement
granted to us in 1986 - seventeen years ago.
It was very hard to "invent the wheel." There is no reason for anyone to
have to reinvent it. Please feel free, if you like, to take whatever you
feel you can use from our "play-book."
Representatives from our garden will be at the Green Thumb Grow Together at
Hostos Community College, located in the Bronx at 450 Grand Concourse and
149th street at the intersection of the #2, 4 and 5 trains on Saturday, March
22nd, 2003. Please check the course schedule to see what seminar rooms and
times the organizer's plug us into. While Green Thumb will be telling you
how to run a sustained garden from the organization's standpoint, we'll be
there to tell you how it's done from the standpoint of folks who have
actually done it - day, by day.
Having broken our collective rear ends and banged our heads in innumerable
walls to make our garden work under that agreement, we offer our experience
to you, as well as anyone who wants to use it, free of charge, on our website
at: <A HREF="http://www.clintoncommunitygarden.org/">Clinton Community Garden
</A> . If this AOL link doesn't work for you, take this URL:
http://www.clintoncommunitygarden.org , and paste it into your browser.
The Clinton Community Garden webmaster, Faser Hardin, has laid out our
garden, warts and all, for anyone to learn our history, methods of
governance, by-laws and how to run, day-by-day, a multi-ethnic,
multi-cultural garden serving 4,000 keyholders to the satisfaction of our
neighborhood, Community Board 4, our elected officials and most importantly,
our landlord, the NYC Parks department.
The Clinton Community Garden is a proud member of the American Community
Gardening Association, which we belong to as an organization, as well as
several individual memberships.
While all neighborhoods and gardens in this city are different in style,
governance and composition of volunteers - some vary from block to block -
there are some tried and true methods of organizing a sustainable and
permanent community garden. There are excellent models in terms of
governance and organization on the link pages of the American Community
Gardening Association website. Again, the HTML is typed below the link for
cutting and pasting on your web browser:
<A HREF="http://www.communitygarden.org/">American Community Gardening
ACGA board members in New York City whom may know are:
ACGA President, Ellen Kirby - director of Brooklyn Botanic Garden's
ACGA Vice President, Gerard Lordahl - NYC Council for the Environment
ACGA Board Member, Edie Stone - Director NY Parks Green Thumb
ACGA Board Member, Doron Comerchero - NY Parks Green Thumb
The ACGA links include:
I. Community Gardens by State,Province,& Country
II. Community Garden Start Up Resources
III. Community Gardening Studies
IV. Gardening with Children
V. Gardening with Seniors and the Disabled
VI. Rooftop Garden Resources
VII. General Gardening & Horticultural Information
VIII. Farmers' Markets
IX. Food Security
XI. Open Land Preservation
XII. Sustainable Communities
XIII. Miscellaneous (Funding, etc.)
XIV. Other Sources of Information
Advocating and struggling to save gardens is one task that most of us are all
too familiar with, i.e., the business of saving your garden from the
onslaught of bulldozers and the gentle mercies of developers.
As a licensable community garden, you are in a different world - think of the
transformation from caterpillar to butterfly - but unlike the butterfly, your
garden can last for decades, instead of one glorious day.
While Community gardens are shared, public green spaces which are planned,
designed, built and maintained by some volunteer community members for the
use and enjoyment of their entire communities, it takes the grassroots
acceptance of gardens by that community, as a citizen run amenities, i.e.,
the perception of their utility to seniors, kids, the community as a whole,
and the political support of elected officials to make them viable.
You are now in the business of running and maintaining a public facility,
like a school, library or let's say Bryant Parks with organization akin to a
volunteer fire house. It's an honor to serve the community in this way, but
where before community gardens could run on an ad hoc fashion (remember they
were supposed to be a temporary solution for stabilizing fallow public spaces
until something "real" went into these spaces) now, as a licensee with the
city, you have all the duties and responsibilies of NYC for a public park
space without the city resources.
Mind you, you will have technical assistance from Green Thumb and the
occasional supply of some plants and soil amendments when there is money in
the budget for that, but in all honesty, that won't be as often as they or
you will like. We need to advocate for more funds to be allocated to both
Parks and GreenThumb, just like we advocate for libraries, hospitals and
schools. Put it on your letter-writing to do list.
1) For starters, you will have to get garden insurance, which you can
purchase for a reasonable sum, on a yearly basis, through the Neighborhood
Open Space Coalition (the nice folks who run this ListServ). Call Toby
Brandt at 1-212-352-9330, or 1-212-342-9332 for details. To keep your
liability low, you will have to make sure that everyone who gets a garden
key, gardens or brings kids in the garden can read garden safety rules - we
have ours in English, Spanish and Arabic in service to our community. All of
the 4,000 Clinton Community Garden Keyholders and our 108 back gardeners have
read and signed our keyholder agreements. We keep these on file, and it
essential to keep good records for liability purposes. New Yorkers are
litigious- it is essential to cover your butt.
2) You have to pay for this. Now Green Thumb is setting up a foundation for
grants to community gardens, but there are many gardens for them to serve.
When their grant guidelines come out, apply. But remember...charity begins at
2a) The Clinton Community Garden is a 501(c0(3) not-for-profit corporation.
Elect yourself steering committee for governance and get a volunteer attorney
from community legal services, or one of the non-for-profits in your area
organize your garden as a 501(c)(3) corporation in order to be able to
apply for foundation grants, and give individual and corporate donors
receipts acceptable for tax purposes. You will need a bank account with
signatories from your steering committee/board. Often large capital items,
i.e., fencing, gardening equipment, plumbing, sheds, garden tools, or
educational programming can be donated. But having your own 501 (c)(3) is
Again, go to the Clinton Community Garden's corporate bylaws under garden
rules. These by-laws, which we agonized over so long are all purpose -- your
volunteer attorney can use them to quickly tailor by-laws to your needs.
3) Go to the public library to get out books on grant writing. There are
foundations out there whose job is to hand out money. But you have to find
out who they are and write acceptable grants. All non-for-profits have grant
writers, maybe one is a garden member?
4) Communicate, communicate, communicate! To garden members and garden users,
to community members, groups, the community board, elected officials and your
landlord, the Parks Dept. or whichever land trust ends up owning the lease on
your garden. Have regular newsletters. Be sure that there is always a
dedicated contact person to field queries, requests, demands, and garden
Again, please go to the websites for information, and for specific questions
after you have done the homework I've given you, go to the Green Thumb Grow
together in March, contact Green Thumb or the Land Trusts you are working
with, the Neighborhood Open Space Coalition, Partnership for Parks, or this
<A HREF="http://www.clintoncommunitygarden.org/">Clinton Community Garden</A>
Subj: CYBERGARDENS: license questions and concerns
Date: 2/5/03 11:08:17 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (M'Finda Kalunga Community Garden)
To: email@example.com (CYBERGARDENS Mailing List)
News from the CYBERGARDENS mailing list
Hi, Fellow garden groups.
We're interested in hearing what others think about the legal document
(license) that we are being asked to sign in order to be officially
registered with Green Thumb. this year.
Our particular garden is under the Parks jurisdiction, but we think that
there are licenses for all three (Parks/land trust/HPD) types of garden
registrations. We went to the Green Thumb registration last Monday for
Manhattan gardens, and came away with a few concerns. The registrations for
the rest of the city has been taking place since then, so more people might
have the same questions that we do.
Issues of ultimate responsibility for liability, waiving indemnification for
the Parks department and the city even though we ARE now parks, and so far,
no available translated versions of this document for some of our members
and other garden group leaders to read are a few of the initial issues that
we'd like to hear from others about.
Since neither of our garden's co-chairs are lawyers, we aren't very
comfortable with signing it, at least not before a lawyer can advise us
about it. But, like many of you, being a volunteer organization with
extremely limited resources, that leaves us kind of on our own.
Any ideas, suggestions, comments, would be helpful and appreciated. You can
contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via this list. Ideas about
volunteer lawyers; lawyers within other garden groups who might be willing
to share their services or other groups interested in pooling resources to
be advised en-masse....
Thanks very much,
Debra Glass and K Webster
M'Finda Kalunga Community Garden
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