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Re: Charges for community gardens

  • Subject: Re: [cg] Charges for community gardens
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2003 12:43:51 EDT

Everything has a price in the real world.  My line, and you heard it here 
first, is..."Community Gardens Don't Grow on Trees!" This is one of the lines I 
use while selling Clinton Community Garden t-shirts, baseball hats and other 
items on the street during the 9th Avenue Food Festival and garden events. We 
can't buy garden hoses, piping, plants and soil amendments with good intentions 
- money talks here, and we know what walks....

There are two way that I know of that gets you community gardens:  

Either you and your neighbors create them yourselves, investing thousands of 
hours of collective sweat-equity in cleaning out crime-ridden lots stewn with 
rubble,  vermin and garbage, and then doing the political work necessary to 
create support for your garden in your community and with your elected officials 
so you don't get bulldozed, get hooked up with foundation funders  and water


You have a nice municipal parks dept/land trust that creates the bare bones 
of one of these and charges you for a pro-rated part of the cost of maintaining 
this kind of facility in the way that it charges for permits for municipal 
golf and tennis courts. 

Either way, land is not free, nor is the creation and maintenance of  a 
public facility/ greenspace.  

Second idea, and I've been talking this one up for a long time:  "Community 
gardening is not an entitlement program, it is an opportunity to serve your 
community. Community gardening is the creation by some members of the community 
of a public garden for the whole community. It may be primarily to raise food 
for low income residents, a decorative public botanic garden or both, but a 
community garden can't just be a green space, it needs to serve its community"

One way or another, community gardens have to justify their existance in 
competition with other valid recreational activities and as a land use. 

Another line, "Community Gardening is  the only form of recreation that feeds 

Honestly, when all  folks really want to do is just garden and not do the 
renovation, political and other work that having a community garden requires, 
it's a good thing to have these "grounds" fees.  People respect what they have to 
pay for if they were not the ones who created the garden themselves with 
their own sweat-equity....it's human nature.  A community garden requires 
investment of self, time and money.  If self and time are not invested, then you have 
to take the money. 

The Clinton Community Garden does not have fees, per se - we charge $5 for 
the front garden key, because that's what a Medico key costs us.  We have a wait 
list for our 108 back garden plots, but we don't charge a yearly rental fee, 
or for soil amendments, use of garden tools and the like - we are a 501(c)(3) 
not-for-profit corporation and are able to accept charitable cash and in-kind 
donations from nurseries and hardware stores for out-of-season equiptment and 
the like.  A grant from the Astor foundation got us our front gate and the 
piping for water brought in from the street.  The water, occasional soil 
donations and repairs to the fence and benches are the contributions from the Parks 
Dept. The trade off is that our garden is parks land run like a volunteer fire 
house that costs them nothing in terms of man hours or repairs. To read more 
about what we do, and it's a bloody lot of work, please go to our website  <A 
HREF="http://www.clintoncommunitygarden.org/";>Clinton Community Garden</A> 

Best wishes,
Adam Honigman
 <A HREF="http://www.clintoncommunitygarden.org/";>Clinton Community Garden</A>

<< Subj:     RE: [cg] Charges for community gardens
 Date:  7/29/03 5:55:59 PM Eastern Daylight Time
 From:  PKLESLIE@ci.portland.or.us (Pohl-Kosbau, Leslie)
 Sender:    community_garden-admin@mallorn.com
 To:    johnrichmond50@hotmail.com ('John Richmond'), 
 Costs of community gardens vary according to the services provided or
 donated. Water usually has cost, as well as the repair and maintenance for
 fences, sheds, and irrigation. Some gardens are individual non-profits,
 single endeavors, or part of a network of gardens. Whatever the status, they
 need insurance. Add to this, delivery of soil, wood chips, or other
 materials, and costs could reach $100 per garden plot. 
 Most gardens are subsidized by an organization, a landowner, a trust, a
 religious or governmental organization. This is a good thing, but it is
 important to remember that there are real costs associated with providing
 and supporting community gardens.
 The Portland, Oregon Community Gardens asks for $35 and a $10 deposit. This
 is only 1/3 of the actual cost of support for the program (with a no-frills
 I would hope that most of the garden programs could keep the costs
 accessible for all people. We raise funds from private sources to provide
 "scholarships" for people who have very limited incomes. I am sure that many
 programs have partners who help share support of community gardens in
 monetary, in advocacy, and in-kind ways. Business support has been the most
 difficult to garner for us. I am sure that with a concerted effort,
 community gardens could receive a sponsorship private or corporate business,
 which could cut individual costs for gardeners. 
 Do others have thoughts on this good question, brought to us by John
 Leslie Pohl-Kosbau
 Portland Community Gardens
 -----Original Message-----
 From: John Richmond [mailto:johnrichmond50@hotmail.com]
 Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2003 2:13 PM
 To: community_garden@mallorn.com
 Subject: [cg] Charges for community gardens
 In my neighborhood a community garden just got started. They worked out a 
 deal with a local housing nonprofit so they could lease the land. The cost 
 per plot for people that want to get involved is $65 per year plus $10 for 
 the water hookup. Is this exorbitant, or a sign of things to come?
 John Richmond
 Richmond, VA
 _________ >>

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