RE: Information/Comm. Garden/Middletown, CT
Good luck Lydia:
I've attached a few e-mails I've sent out on garden building and governance.
A word of caution: be sure that your neighborhood wants a community garden
and is willing to support it through sweat and and political action in the
face of other legitimate urban/suburban uses.
First check out the American Community Gardening Association ( ACGA) and
the Trust for Public Land (TPL) websites. Both organizations have a great
deal of useful information on community gardening and may have links and/or
contacts about community gardens and organizations in your area.
Talk to your neighbors about whether they think a community garden is a
something they'd be willing to support as gardeners, monetarily or as an
amenity they would push their local elected officials to support. Be sure
that folks withing a five block area really want a community garden to
happen or you'll have a sore back!
Check you municipality's rules on composting, whether you can get a source
of water, etc.. Make friends with your garden site's neighbors, especially
if you want to keep a beehive! ( Check your municipality's rules on bee
If you have the land, the gardeners and neighbors who are willing to
tolerate you in your pursuit, email me again. As a community gardener for 20
years in NYC, our crew has made our share of mistakes, the lions share of
which can be avoided. Remember, in an urban area with so many competing uses
for land, community gardening is 50% gardening and 100% political. Make sure
that you get a genuine consensus from your community before you start and do
everything you can to keep your garden inclusive and fun.
Community gardening is extremely fulfilling but can break your heart if you
don't pay attention to the community first. It's always people before
From: Darshell Silva [SMTP:email@example.com]
Sent: Wednesday, January 19, 2000 7:30 AM
Subject: [cg] Re: Starting Local Community Garden
My name is Darshell Silva. I am the Agency Outreach Coordinator for
Community Food Bank. A group I work with is looking into starting a
community garden and has no idea where to begin. The garden would
vegetable garden with produce going to community residents. Please
information available or just some where/how to start information.
for the help. Darshell Silva firstname.lastname@example.org
I serve on the 13 person steering committee of the Clinton Community
Garden in NYC ( clintoncommunitygarden.org). We are organized as a
501(c)(3), i.e. not-for-profit corporation and lease our garden space from
the NYC department of parks. Our board members are elected for 2 and one
year terms on a staggered basis ( odd & even years) so we have a degree of
continuity. We have no president but we do have a treasurer and a record
keeper/archivist ( we're 20 years old.)
We govern the garden by subcommittees which we create as needed: public
space volunteer committee, compost committee, beehive committee, back (
individual plot) garden committee, special events, fundraising, neighborhood
outreach...you've got the idea.
All steering committee members are active gardeners and are extremely busy
people ( our lives are filled with New York minutes) who balance jobs (
sometimes 2-3 jobs) family, community service, etc.. We are often what are
perjoritively known as "neighborhood activists."
Answer 1: Yes, your non-profit can lease from another non-profit in all the
Answer 2.: Get your gardeners into a space, maybe a church to ensure good
behavior for your first annual gardeners general meeting. Create an agenda
to follow with a 2 minute rule for all speakers. Get a moderator - maybe the
clergyman- someone impartial for sure. Have all the Board Members there.
Distribute flyers to all gardeners before hand listing a suggested agenda
for the meeting, asking for additional topics if needed. Set a time frame
for the meeting - ie no more than 2-3 hours.
State of the Garden Report:
1) We lost the old President ( Mom/Dad is dead...we kids have to be
grown-ups now) who did everything for us and gee this is hard running this
big 'ol garden and all.
2) Here's how we did last year, and boy it was a mess, but here is the
status of our lease with the neighborhood association, our bank account,
our compost heap, garden hoses...etc
3) Here is the situation of the garden as it stands today, February___,
Open forum Discussion [ Have a sign in sheet for non-Board members which is
shown to all gardeners as they enter the door]. All Board Members get 5
minutes to state their cases. One initial statement per Board member. Then (
Timed 2 Minutes) all gardeners get one statement.
4) Record keeper writes all suggestions down. Moderator uses whip, gun and
chair to control the wild animals in the room.
OK, do you want a garden?
How do you want the garden organized?
How will the work of the garden be best done, because the garden has
non-gardening work to be done.
How many times a year does the membership meet ( suggestion: the Clinton
Community Garden membership meets annually, the steering committee monthly,
all members are welcome to attend and present though not vote at the monthly
steering committee meetings) what is the garden's form of governance? Should
we organize as a not-for-profit-corporation?[Good idea, you can give letters
for contributions, limit your liablility if an accident happens.]
[We like the presidentless form. We use a rotating chair system for our
meetings. Whatever works for you.]
OK, ( if you get this far) we are going to create some working bylaws. This
is what we're going to say to the Neighborhood Association Board.
Here's the tricky part:
OK Mrs Jones, you're committed to do which job?
Kathy, good luck. Check out the the American Community Gardening
Association's website (www.communitygarden.org) and the Trust for Public
Land website ( www.igc.apc.org/tpl/). Both of these groups should have
information on community gardens in your area with some pointers on how to
get started on governance.
All the best,
Sent: Wednesday, January 19, 2000 1:50 PM
Subject: [cg] (no subject)
Our Community Garden is owned by our Neighborhood Association
organization) and run by a committee of Gardeners who report on a
basis back to the Neighborhood Association Board. I am currently
and we have had a bad year due to 6 of the 8 Board members being new
Board and the Garden committee members being almost all new as well.
The past Garden committee was run almost entirely by 1 person with
the help of a
few others on occasion.
With the departure of this person...we were left with a dilemma of
none of the
Board members being Gardeners and none wanting to take on the
running the garden.
Long story short...I sent out a letter indicating that if the
step up to the plate and take control of running the garden..we
wouldn't be able
to have a garden for this last year. This didn't sit well as you
Ever since, we have had problems with the running of the garden due
faults on many parts and this has led to a few of the gardeners
incorporate themselves as a non-profit organization and lease the
the neighborhood association.
I don't know how much assistance you will be able to give, but....
Question 1: Is that legally possible for a non-profit to lease
non-profit? This is in the state of Michigan.
Questions 2: I want to make a concerted effort at trying to make
growing season work. Our Board is going to make an effort at
focusing in on the
efforts of the gardeners (grant money, administrating, meetings,
etc.). Can you
give me any tips as to going about this? Books, reference
materials, etc. I
see this as resembling a brand new endeavor (since I don't believe
have experience in doing this type of thing). How do I get started?
Your feedback would be much appreciated.
Beginner Garden Administrator
From: Magicjime@aol.com [SMTP:Magicjime@aol.com]
Sent: Wednesday, January 19, 2000 10:02 PM
Subject: [cg] comparing price, practices, places
I am new to the leadership of a community garden in CT. and would
expand and improve on our program .I have been looking for
There are so many questions . How much to charge for plots ,how
rules, resources, responsibility and how to get people to do
service . Any Ideas ?
community_garden maillist - email@example.com
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Lwbrewster@aol.com [SMTP:Lwbrewster@aol.com]
> Sent: Sunday, January 23, 2000 9:43 PM
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: [cg] Information/Comm. Garden/Middletown, CT
> Dear Gardeners:
> I am a community organizer interested in beginning a community garden in a
> low-income neighborhood in Middletown, CT. I am interested in obtaining
> information about process and funding for such a venture. I am
> interested in grant information.
> Thank you.
> Lydia Brewster
> North End Action Team
> 33 Ferry Street
> Middletown, CT 06457
> community_garden maillist - email@example.com
community_garden maillist - firstname.lastname@example.org