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Re: community gardens- dealing with liability issues

  • Subject: Re: [cg] community gardens- dealing with liability issues
  • From: Grow19@aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 13 Jul 2006 10:06:51 EDT

I would suggest sitting down with the museum and saying that you  are willing 
to explore the idea but need to know more; it would likely be  helpful if the 
museum would bring their insurance agent to the meeting.   this way the 
museum and the insurance agent can voice their concerns, could  discuss 
alternatives, such as:
- the garden contributes toward the museum's coverage (an amount such as  
- the museum adds a rider for the garden; gardeners pay for that
- insurance agent assures museum that the garden would not be a  problem.
Would also suggest that the museum's insurance agent talk to the Land Trust  
Alliance, which forged insurance coverage for land trusts and community  
gardens.  The agent could talk with the underwriters at Chubb (through the  LTA) 
and learn a bit more about issues nationally and their experience covering  
gardening on 'vacant' land.  Perhaps this would help the agent assure the  museum 
that it will be OK.
That said, the gardeners should work together to develop a "Gardeners'  
Agreement" which outlines what is expected of them (keeping their plot planted,  
weeded and harvested at all times; keeping walkways clear of weeds; helping with 
 group projects benefitting the garden; always keeping the garden safe; being 
in  the garden at their own risk).  Each year, gardeners should read the  
agreement together and sign this agreement again.  Altho' is won't legally  
protect from lawsuits, it establishes the idea that tools must be managed safely  
and that people are responsible to walk carefully, etc, and to take care of  
Keep in mind that if the garden includes people with disabilities and it is  
on public space (museum) you should take special care to be sure that the  
pathways are wide and firm underfoot so as not to pose an obstruction or danger. 
Good luck!!
Judy Tiger, Washington, DC

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