Re: community garden fee hike
- Subject: Re: [cg] community garden fee hike
- From: Grow19@aol.com
- Date: Fri, 7 Oct 2005 09:00:45 EDT
Good grief. The city aims to collect more than $16,000/year from this
activity? You didn't say where you are but surely they do not collect this amount
from any of their other recreational land uses - tennis, golf, swimming,
basketball, walking, dog walking, etc. This is really outrageous.
This is a good reason that all gardens should have active coordinating
committees, even if garden programs are municipallly run. Have a garden meeting
pronto. It will take determination to fight this, so get formal and ask
gardeners to take on 'assignments' such as:
- signing a gardeners' petition
- finding allies who are savvy about municipal policy, parks & planning, and
media relations, etc.
- getting signatures on a petition (more on this below)
- media relations
- writing a letter to city leaders making a clear case for the value of the
garden and protesting a fee hike, asking to meet with city leaders
"They reportedly researched the average fee for community gardens (35 to 45
cents per square foot?) to get closer to 'market rate.'"
The 'market rate' for community gardens is $0. The best and most typical
arrangement would be that the garden does not pay the city at all, that the
gardeners pay 'dues', have their own bank account, and manage their own
expenses. Most important is that the arrangement should not be radically different
from other recreational land use.
A good strategy for fighting this is to get petitions signed. Pronto! Get
all of the gardeners involved. Each gardener should not only sign a protest
petition, but should take responsibility for getting signatures of others,
based on a formal strategy that you all develop together, so you aren't all
tripping over each other seeking the same signatures.
You can design the petition to include a case statement at the top, so
people can quickly see how important the garden is. Include the key basics that
compel people to understand how important the garden is to not only the
gardeners but the rest of the community (how old it is, the total sq footage under
cultivation, # plots, total # of people who are fed out of the garden and
range of ages, estimated # pounds of food produced annually, other benefits
beyond food (cross cultural friendships, .... ).
Who's signatures to get? Make a chart of all of the stakeholders who are
not only involved with or related to the garden, the gardeners, the
neighborhood, the city decisionmakers etc. All the gardeners sign a separate petition,
then you go for neighbors, churches, nonprofit leaders, some members of the
media, environmental groups, food & hunger organizations, social services
organizations, any one who has ever volunteered for or made donations ($ or
inkind) to the garden, etc. etc.
Aim to get at least 3-4 times the signatures as their are garden plots, so
you can prove that support is very broad.
Ask ACGA to help.
Judy Tiger, Washington DC
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