(Provided by: American Community Garden Association)
Formal Bylaws and Rules
When drafting formal bylaws for your garden, you should include:
- Full official name of organization and legal address
- Organizing members, names and addresses
- The (brief description of the) purpose, goals, and philosophy of the organization
- Membership categories and eligibility requirements
- Membership dues, how much and when paid
- When and how often regular or special meetings of the membership are to be held, as well as regular and annual meetings of the board of directors
- What officers are necessary, how they are chosen, length of term, their duties, and how vacancies are filled
- Organizational dissolution processes
- Special committees, their purpose, and how they operate
- A system so bylaws can be rescinded or amended, maybe by a simple majority. State any official policies or practices: e.g., garden group will avoid the use of hazardous substances; group will agree to keep all adjacent sidewalks in good repair and free of ice and snow in season; group will make all repairs necessary to keep equipment, fences, and furniture in good order and repair
- Include a Hold Harmless clause (sample):
- “We the undersigned members of the (name) garden group hereby agree to hold harmless (name owner) from and against any damage, loss, liability, claim, demand, suit, cost, and expense directly or indirectly resulting from, arising out of or in connection with the use of the (name) garden by the garden group, its successors, assigns, employees, agents, and invites.”
Write down a simple list of commitments each member needs to adhere to. Pick and choose what best fits your group’s situation (what type of garden, is it in a park, etc.)
- I will pay a fee of $_______ to help cover garden expenses.
- I will have something planted in the garden by (date) and keep it planted all summer long.
- If I must abandon my plot for any reason, I will notify the garden leadership.
- I will keep weeds at a minimum and maintain the areas immediately surrounding my plot, if any.
- If my plot becomes unkempt, I understand I will be given a one week notice to clean it up. At that time, it will be re-assigned or tilled in.
- I will keep trash and litter out of the plot, as well as from adjacent pathways and fences.
- I will participate in the fall cleanup of the garden.
- I will plant tall crops where they will not shade neighboring plots.
- I will pick only my own crops unless given permission by another plot user.
- I will not use fertilizers, insecticides, or weed repellents that will in any way affect other plots.
- I agree to volunteer hours toward community gardening efforts (include a list of volunteer tasks which your garden needs).
- I will not bring pets to the garden.
- I understand that neither the garden group nor owners of the land are responsible for my actions. I THEREFORE AGREE TO HOLD HARMLESS THE GARDEN GROUP AND OWNERS OF THE LAND FOR ANY LIABILITY, DAMAGE, LOSS, OR CLAIM THAT OCCURS IN CONNECTION WITH USE OF THE GARDEN BY ME OR ANY OF MY GUESTS.