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garden management sustainability


I would love to get some feedback on a dilemma on which I am currently trying to advise the Garden Leader at one of our larger garden sites:
The volunteer Garden Leader puts in many, many hours of time to manage this garden that has 95 plots and over 100 participants.  The Leader has done this for quite a while (over 20 years?? - maybe a bit less).  The plot fees were recently raised to $20 per plot and that was difficult to do because they did not want to make the cost prohibitive.  The money goes to regular maintenance and event costs.  The Leader has a team of people who helps them and gardeners need to do 10 - 20 hours of community time each year.  However, the Leader is getting burnt out and there isn't exactly people knocking on the doors to become leader. 

I discussed with the Leader the possibility of paying someone to do some of the duties (as another garden in Cleveland does).  Does anyone have any suggestions on setting up a more sustainable structure for the management of this garden?  Incidentally, the garden is under pressure from the surrounding neighborhood that has gone through somewhat of a gentrification and is one of the most desirable neighborhoods.  Therefore the Leader expressed some fear that if they stepped down there would be condominiums being built on the garden site in a few years.

Thank you in advance for your time and any ideas shared.


Lynn Gregor
Program Coordinator
Community Gardening
Ohio State University Extension, Cuyahoga Co.

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