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Liability Insurance

  • Subject: [cg] Liability Insurance
  • From: "Corrie Zoll" <czoll@greeninstitute.org>
  • Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2004 14:11:17 -0600
  • Content-class: urn:content-classes:message
  • Thread-index: AcPwEgppEqDRgGQfSlmwB218ZJ2LDg==
  • Thread-topic: Liability Insurance

In the Minneapolis – Saint Paul region, an organization called The Sustainable Resources Center (SRC) has provided direct services to community gardens for the past 30 years, including lease holding and liability insurance.   SRC announced in December that they would be unable to provide leases, liability insurance, or other services to community gardens in 2004.  SRC insured more than 50 community gardens, and presumably every one of these gardens is at risk of shutting down without liability insurance coverage.


SRC was able to insure community gardens at the very low rate of $35 per year per garden site.  This covered $1,000,000 in commercial general liability insurance.  To put this number in context, one small organization that I work with found that insuring their single 5000 sq ft community garden site would cost more than $1200 per year.


I have been working over the past two months to figure out whether my organization, The Green Institute, can provide leases and liability insurance for community gardens as a stop-gap measure until a more sustainable plan can be developed.  At this time, it seems that we can insure these sites for approximately $125 per garden per year.  With an administrative fee, this would mean something like $200 for the gardeners, still a very large jump from $35.  In order to demonstrate that The Green Institute has an insurable interest in the garden, we will lease the lot from the property owner for a minimal fee.  Gardens are owned by a variety of entities, including the city, the county, churches, schools, non-profits, and a railroad. 


I am looking for input from other cities on how to make this work.  I am hopeful that you all have experiences from which I can learn.  Anything you can share would be helpful.  Here are a few of the questions I need to answer for my board of directors:


*Will we need to enforce a “safety policy” regarding use of tillers, gas mowers, weed whips, chainsaws, chippers, etc?


*Will we need to require organic gardening practices?


*How can we enforce these requirements?


*Will we need to have gardeners sign release forms?


*Will we need to keep a list of who is allowed to enter the garden?


*What happens when unknown people enter the garden?


*Will the discovery of uninsured activity in the gardens affect coverage of other sites?


*Will claims on these policies increase premiums across the rest of my organization?


Thank you for your attention.  This crisis affects more than one in four community gardens in the Twin Cities.

As you can see from this list of questions, the learning curve ahead of us is steep.  If you have samples of contracts, policies, or other documents that you cannot send electronically, please feel free to use the fax number listed below.




Corrie Zoll, Program Director

GreenSpace Partners

A program of The Green Institute

2801 21st Avenue South, Suite 110

Minneapolis, MN 55407

Telephone 612-278-7119

Facsimile 612-278-7101




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