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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.
Good luck!
Judy Tiger, Washington DC  

The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org

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