|Community Garden Structure||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Melanie Mindlin (sassettamind.net)|
|Date: Wed, 9 Sep 2020 08:12:23 -0700 (PDT)|
Hi Mama, I’ve been the main convener/organizer of the community garden at Ashland Cohousing since inception 13 years ago. When we created this community with its substantial garden area, I assumed that we would assign plots like most community gardens do. Much to my surprise, the community asked instead to have the garden kept as a group project without individual allocations. What this means in practice is: The community pays for anything we want/need for the garden. Food is prioritized for community meals. Anyone can go and harvest whatever is there unless someone has let us known that it is going to be used for a community meal. Gardeners get first crack at the food because they know what is available and are likely to be in the garden to pick it. We have to be proactive to get the cooks to use food from the garden. We usually have to harvest the food and bring it door to door to give it away if we don’t want to eat it ourselves. There are just a few of us that care about the garden and do the bulk of the work. The community pitches in occasionally on work days. The gardeners spend a lot more time on this project than other people do on community work (a LOT more). We’re able to help people experiencing short term food insecurity (as one member has due to Covid loss of income). Generally it has worked out surprisingly well, although the garden can get a bit neglected when the enthusiasm of the few wanes. > On Sep 9, 2020, at 3:16 AM, cohousing-l-request [at] cohousing.org wrote: > > Subject: [C-L]_ Community Garden Structure > Message-ID: > <155858895.328437310.1599521213351.JavaMail.zimbra [at] peak.org > <mailto:155858895.328437310.1599521213351.JavaMail.zimbra [at] peak.org>> > Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8 > > Hello: > > My family are members of a newish cohousing community, Village Hill Cohousing > in Northampton, MA. We are working on setting up an organizational structure > for our Community Garden space. We would like information, assistance from > other cohousing communities regarding the following items based on their > experience, organization structure of their Community Garden space. > > 1) What is an equitable way to assign plots At certain times we have assigned plots to individuals who requested some private space. They generally did not take the time to care for that space and were able to acknowledge that it should come back to general use amicably. > > 2) Who oversees the Community Garden(eg gardeners have a CG work group or > other working structures?) The gardeners do get “credit” for their time instead of working on other committees. This is not an equitable distribution of labor as noted above. > > 3) Is there a cost to have a garden plot Never. > > 4) Who maintains other plant material not related to the Community > Garden(watering, pruning, etc) We have a whole separate team responsible for seeing that the landscape is maintained. This can be challenging in terms of work needed, and we generally hire some of the work either to someone in the community or (rarely) to an outside person. We have some edible landscaping which requires more maintenance than other types of plants, and I have been doing that as a “chore wheel” task in addition to the gardening. I’m not sure what would happen if I wasn’t willing to volunteer the extra time. Watering is automated in the landscape, but the system requires extensive annual maintenance. Pruning is haphazard, though we try to get folks to maintain the landscaping near their homes themselves. > 5) What if a gardener is unable to keep up maintenance of their plot We have asked that it be returned to the group effort and this has not been contested. > > 6) How is community share garden within the Community Garden organized As described previously, we ask the cooks to use garden produce and sometimes harvest for them as well, since they don’t usually have the time to harvest when they’re cooking that day. If cooks plan to use garden produce, they let everyone know and we save it for them. When there is abundance or a big single harvest (like garlic), we give everyone a share (or sometimes beg them to take it). > > 7) Policy for use and maintenance of tools We do maintenance during workdays. We label them clearly. We replace them when they go missing after asking around. This can be a bit frustrating, but since the community pays for whatever we need without question, it has worked out okay. > > 8) Other? Good luck. Melanie Mindlin Ashland Cohousing > > Any information and assistance in how your various cohousing communities have > structured, designed their Community Gardens regarding these items or other > items that were found relevant would be much appreciated. > > Thank you and best wishes for your community, > > Marna
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