Agreement and Guidelines

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The Community Garden Agreement and Guidelines ensure that the community gardens are maintained as vibrant, shared, green spaces within the City of Richmond. Garden members are required to agree to and honor the rules in exchange for the privilege of gardening on public land.*

The following Community Garden Agreement is a bullet-point summary of the community garden rules. For a full description and to understand their application and interpretation, please see the expanded section below.

 

Community Gardeners are required to:

Community gardeners are not permitted to: 

*We reserve the right to make exceptions to these rules in extenuating or justified circumstances.

 

Garden Plot Inspections

Garden inspections are done three times each year, in spring, summer, and fall. Inspections may also be done outside of these times if necessary. The Community Garden Program Coordinator will visit each site, and thoroughly inspect each garden plot to ensure plot holders are following the rules set out in the Community Garden Agreement. During inspections, the rules will be defined and enforced according to their expanded definitions below. If you have received a violation notice and have any questions or concerns about it, please contact the community gardens program coordinator.

 

Violations

Violations of the Community Garden Agreement will be handled in the following manner:

  • Reading and agreeing to this Agreement, as indicated by paying for and registering as a tenant of an assigned garden plot, is first notice.
  • Second notice will be a written (paper or email) notice explaining the violation. Plot holders will be given 14 days to correct the identified issue(s).
  • The final notice will be another notice (paper or email) with a date that the plot rental is cancelled and the plot is forfeited.

 

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Community Garden Agreement & Guidelines – Expanded

 

Community Gardeners are required to

  • follow all rules as outlined in this Agreement and Guidelines;
This includes all of the rules outlined in the agreement above and detailed below, as well as respecting deadlines regarding plot renewals.
 
  • volunteer time in the gardens (beyond time spent working in their personal plot) to contribute to the general operations and maintenance of the garden site shared spaces
All members of the Richmond Community Gardens are required to help maintain the shared spaces at the garden sites, to the best of their ability. This requires gardeners to volunteer time throughout the spring, summer, and fall, to work on tasks such as pulling weeds, spreading woodchips, cleaning/organizing the tool shed, sharpening tools, providing garden orientation sessions to new gardeners, and helping to organize garden gatherings.
 
  • actively cultivate their garden plot to grow food and other plants;

Garden plots must be used to grow plants throughout the summer season and cannot be left vacant. This supports the intention for the community gardens to be vibrant green spaces that are used by community members to grow food, flowers, and other useful plants.

  • maintain and regularly remove weeds from the plot and pathways surrounding their assigned plot;

The plot and the pathways surrounding the plot are the responsibility of the plot holder to maintain. Depending on the garden site, the pathway may be maintained as either mulch, gravel or dirt. If mulch is used, the weeds need to be dug up and removed prior to adding mulch. Dead plants and ripe produce must be removed/harvested on an ongoing basis from the plot.  The plot must be kept reasonably free of weeds at all times of the year, and gardeners must make sure that weeds do not go to seed.

  • rent only one garden plot per household;

  • use the garden plot for personal gardening only, and not for any commercial business;

Commercial business includes, but is not limited to, the sale of produce grown in the garden plot.

  • treat fellow gardeners, community members and Richmond Food Security Society employees with respect;

The community gardens are safe, welcoming, and shared spaces where all community members are treated with respect at all times.

  • only use organic growing methods;

No synthetic fertilizers or pesticides are allowed in the gardens. If you are unsure if a product is okay to be used in the community gardens, please contact the community gardens program coordinator.

  • prepare the garden plot for planting by May 1st at the latest;

The plot must be actively cultivated beginning May 1st and through the duration of the gardening season.

  • clean up the garden plot by October 31st, except for a planted cover crop, mulch, perennials, and over-wintering plants;

Besides a planted cover crop, mulch, perennials, and over-wintering plants the plots should be cleaned up and tidy for the winter. This includes organizing and tidying any trellising materials and the removal of dead plants and weeds. Plot holders are responsible for their plot 12 months of the year and therefore are required to ensure that the plot and pathways are kept reasonably weed free, even during the winter months. Using a mulch, such as straw or leaves, or planting a cover crop to protect the soil and suppress weeds during the winter is highly recommended but not mandatory. However, using a mulch or cover crop will significantly reduce the amount of work required during the winter months in keeping the plot weed free and tidy.

  • follow water restrictions when in effect and conserve water by hand watering and using mulch to reduce water evaporation;

Automatic watering is not permitted in any of the Richmond Community Gardens. More information regarding Richmond water restrictions can be found on the City of Richmond water restrictions website

  • take responsibility for garden waste by composting in the garden plot, taking compost home, or using the on-site green bins;

Green waste must be composted within the garden plot, taken home or disposed of in the on-site green bins. Green waste cannot be piled next to the garden plot or anywhere else in the garden. Green bins are provided at the community garden sites for materials that cannot be composted within individual garden plot composts. Gardeners should compost green waste on their plot as much as possible, but may use the on-site green bins for excess plant matter, or challenging green wastes such as:

  • Weeds with seeds
  • Diseased plants
  • Invasive plants (such as horsetail, buttercups, knotweed, etc.)
  • Large plants or stalks that will not break down quickly (such as brussel sprout stalks)

  • clean and return the common tools to the storage area and help to keep the shed tidy and organized;

We hope that every community gardener is proud of the community garden sites and will maintain them in a way that reflects this. Maintenance of these community spaces is a shared responsibility of all of the community gardeners at each garden.

  • supervise all guests in the garden, especially children;

Family members and friends are more than welcome to join garden members in the community gardens. Just like gardeners, they are required to follow these rules and it is the responsibility of the individual community gardener to make sure this happens. Please ensure your guests do not pick produce or make changes to any garden plot but your own. The gardens can be educational and engaging green spaces for children to enjoy, but also have tripping hazards and sharp tools. Please keep a close eye on young children in the gardens.

  • only work in the gardens during open hours, which are from dawn until dusk; and

For everyone’s safety, the gardens are open everyday from dawn until dusk and are closed outside of these times. Please plan gardening activities accordingly.

  • contact and receive permission from the garden coordinator prior to making any structural changes to the plot.

Structural changes include, but are not limited to, building, replacing, or extending plot borders, or building any type of significant trellising or fencing structure.

 

Community gardeners are not permitted to

  • plant trees and non-edible shrubs, Jerusalem artichokes, raspberries, blackberries or invasive species according to provincial regulations

No trees, non-edible shrubs, Jerusalem artichokes, raspberries, blackberries, or invasive species (link to invasive species council or other relevant website) can be planted in the community gardens. Edible shrubs that will grow to less than 6’ tall, including  blueberries or rosemary, are accepted plants in the community gardens.

  • stockpile materials in or around garden plots or in common areas;

A reasonable amount of gardening materials, such as planting pots and trellis structures, which are currently being used, may be kept in the plot. However, items that are extra, unused, or unrelated to gardening cannot be stored in or around the garden plot or in common areas.

  • use any pesticides, herbicides (weed killers), insecticides, chemical fertilizers, animal poisons, and non-organic materials including treated wood in the garden plot, and will comply with the Pesticide Use Control Bylaw #8514 and Public Health Protection Bylaw # 8969;

Please contact the community gardens program coordinator if you have any questions regarding products that are allowed in the community gardens. Pressure treated wood is treated with chemical preservatives, and is not suitable for use in organic food producing gardens.  Wooden plot borders are not mandatory, and are not supplied; they can be added by gardeners at their own expense.  If you choose to add a wooden border, please use another type of wood such as cedar which is naturally rot resistant.

  • place any objects including but not limited to chairs, containers, pots, planters, compost bins, or pieces of wood in common areas or on pathways;

All items must be stored within the plot borders.

  • dump green waste into bushes and/or surrounding garden areas;

Green waste must be composted within the garden plot, taken home or disposed of in the on-site green bins. Green waste cannot be piled next to the garden plot or anywhere else in the garden. Green bins are provided at the community garden sites for materials that cannot be composted within individual garden plot composts. Gardeners are encouraged to compost green waste on their plot as much as possible, but may use the on-site green bins for excess plant matter, or troublesome green wastes such as:

  • Weeds with seeds
  • Diseased plants
  • Invasive plants (such as horsetail, buttercups, knotweed, etc.)
  • Large plants or stalks that will not break down quickly (such as brussel sprout stalks)

  • leave garbage or useless gardening materials at the garden site or in the garden shed;

Please practice the “pack out what you pack in” principle. Garbage bins are not provided at the garden sites for gardening materials, and any significant garden-related garbage or other gardening materials must be taken home. The garbage cans are provided for wastes associated with use of the community gardens as a public, shared park, and can be used of to dispose of a small amount of wastes, such as food wrappers, seed packages, or other small debris.

  • remove communal garden tools from the garden site;

Garden tools are provided for gardeners to use at the garden sites and must be kept in the locked sheds. If you can’t remember the code for the tool shed and need to return a tool, please contact the community garden program coordinator to request the access code.

  • use abusive or obscene language while in the garden;

The community gardens are safe, welcoming, and shared spaces where all community members are treated with respect at all times.

  • grow plants or erect any trellis structures over six feet;

All plants and trellis structures must be no taller than six feet. This measurement is taken from the top of the garden plot border. In the absence of a garden plot border, this measurement will be taken from the surface of the soil at the base of the garden structure.

  • install any closed structures of any kind in the garden plots, including greenhouses;

Until further notice, no new garden structures may be built in the community gardens, including greenhouses. We are working with the City of Richmond to get clarity on exactly what is allowed.

  • drive vehicles on the pathways, plaza, or within the community garden area;

Please park in designated parking areas outside of the community gardens.  If needed, wheelbarrows are available at the garden sites to carry heavy materials into the gardens.

  • bring dogs or other domestic animals into the gardens; and

While we encourage gardeners to invite family and friends with them to the gardens, please leave your four-legged and other domestic animals at home.

  • harvest or remove any plants or items from garden plots other than the garden plot to which the gardener has been assigned.

Taking plants from any plot that is not your own is considered theft. Changing or altering any plot other than your own is also not acceptable.