[Updated March 2019]
Hollenback Community Garden By Laws and Membership Commitment
Members of the Hollenback Community Garden acknowledge that we are stewards of the land and recognize that to be a privilege and responsibility. The primary goal of membership is to participate with the garden community and to engage the larger community to experience and enjoy the garden space. Those who choose to be members are passionate about the urban garden movement, are engaged in community and service, are interested in growing food and are committed to maintaining the garden in perpetuity for future generations to access and enjoy.
We believe in a diverse community and welcome members from all walks of life. Our garden includes young and old, experienced and novice gardeners, longtime residents and new transplants. We aspire to a membership that includes a range of experiences, talents and perspectives.
Overall, garden members understand that the garden is here for the community. As members we acknowledge that we represent Hollenback, BQLT and the greater garden network. We agree to conduct ourselves accordingly whenever in or acting on behalf of the garden.
DEFINING A MEMBER:
An individual becomes a Member after they have completed all commitments during their New Member season; and they continue to complete member commitments each season thereafter.
- 2 people have the option to be “one member”; i.e., a couple or 2 friends who share 1 plot. In this scenario they have the option to complete the commitments equivalent to 1 member. However, they would not each have full member status and they only get 1 vote. With this option neither person would be eligible as an independent member to obtain their own separate plot in the next season. But if 1 of them leaves the garden the other would get credit for the membership commitments completed between the 2 of them toward the next season. That person would then have to complete the commitments in the subsequent season on their own.
All Members (or Plots if 2 are acting as 1 member) Commit to:
- Sign this contract agreeing to the following guidelines by June 15th of every growing season.
- Must be signed by all individuals participating in any form of membership.
2) Pay on a sliding scale of $10-50 per person by June 15th of each season. Membership dues are paid within the fee scale at a given member’s discretion.
3) Work a minimum of 4 open hour sessions during the season. One shift is a 2-hour session. Members are encouraged to complete open hours as frequently as possible; and to keep the garden open whenever they are there to allow for community access.
4) After 2 years as a full member, volunteer to participate in a Leadership position, including Steering Committee, unless there are extenuating circumstances. This will be based on the leadership transition needs.
5) Attend at least 3 out of 8 member meetings per season.
The first and last meetings cover much important business, such as distribution of plots. If you are not in attendance, and there is a quorum, important votes may occur without your presence. The garden will make every attempt through e-mail, phone or mail to inform members of important issues coming up for vote so that they can express their opinion before the meeting if they cannot be in attendance.
- Attendance at two (2) Hollenback sub-committee meetings (ie, event planning) will count for one (1) Meeting credit.
- Up to one (1) out of the three (3) Meetings can be fulfilled via the options below. In order to receive credit for attending an alternative meeting or event, attendees must report back to the membership to tell everyone how awesome it was and share the knowledge learned (this may include providing a mini seminar). Summary notes must be submitted to the President within one (1) week of the event attended. The following alternatives for Meetings are approved:
- Attend a Brooklyn Queens Land Trust meeting (general or operations).
- Attend a community garden workshop, class or event. Approved activities include:
o GreenBridge workshop (community garden branch of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden)
o GreenThumb workshop (community garden city agency for NYC)
o Making Brooklyn Bloom (community garden conference organized by
o GreenThumb Grow Together (community garden conference organized by
(Any other workshop or event attended by a garden member that is not on the list must be approved by the membership.)
5) Work at least 3 workdays or events per season (minimum 2- hour shift for each).
If it looks to be a particularly busy season, the garden may vote at the beginning of the season to increase the minimum number of workdays/events attendance to be required that year. In addition, the garden may choose to initiate a special project which may require additional/adjusted work day schedule.
6) Plant their plot by June 15th
Consequences for not fulfilling Membership Commitments & Responsibilities #1-6
1) If any Member with/without a plot does not adhere to the membership commitment, they will lose their plot/opportunity for a plot at the start of the next growing season. Those members will remain members of the garden and keep their key. They will be placed on the waiting list for earning plot eligibility for the next season.
2) If a New Member (1st year) does not adhere to the membership commitment, they will lose their key and be placed at the bottom of the wait list for plot eligibility. They can reapply as New Members for the next season.
JOINING THE GARDEN
1) New people can join the garden their first season by attending either a workday or a meeting between March 15th – May 31st. These are referred to as “New Members”.
2) New Members will be given a key after paying dues and attending 2 meetings and 1 workday in their first season.
3) If New Members fulfill regular member commitments #1-5 as an individual they will be eligible for a plot the next season, if there is one available.
4) If a current member with a plot invites a friend to work with them on their plot, that new person must still join as an individual New Member. To get a key they personally must come to 2 meetings and a workday. To qualify for their own plot the next year they must follow member rules #1-6 as individuals. If they do not follow rules #1-6, they lose their key the following year. NB: In this scenario the plot does NOT belong to that friend and they have no seniority to obtain that plot if the original member decides to relinquish the plot after that season. The plot goes into the lottery and that person is part of the lottery process if they are eligible for a plot.
5) New Members will help tend communal areas, potentially including plots that are not planted by June 15th.
6) New Members will not be accepted after May 31st.
7) You must be 18 years old to join the garden.
1) There are two tiers of membership used to determine the waitlist.
- Members (with or without plot).
- New Members.
2) These tiers will remain when determining rank on the wait list for available plots. For example, if a member with a plot, a member without a plot and a New Member all fail to meet the membership commitments, they will appear at the bottom of the waitlist in the same order (member w/ plot and member w/out plot, New Member).
3) Determining order of New Members on the wait list:
- a) At the July member meeting, a lottery will be organized by the Membership Coordinator to determine the rank of New Members who have expressed interest in becoming full members.
- b) It will be a random lottery drawing of names.
- c) From this, the master list of New Members will be made and maintained by Membership Coordinator to determine their spot on the wait list.
- d) New Members who don’t meet the requirements of membership will be removed from the wait list at the end of the season and can reapply the next year.
DISTRIBUTION OF PLOTS
1) New plots will be distributed at the First meeting of each season in March.
2) Seniority matters. Senior-most members who wish to change plots within the garden will be able to do so first, before the waiting list is consulted to place a member w/out a plot or a New Member.
4) When 2 or more people tending a plot decide that they no longer want to share a plot and one of them wants to find their own new space (and both have fulfilled all requirements as individual members), it is the seniority of the member seeking the new plot that determines their rank in the order that plots are being disbursed.
5) If there is additional space, Members without plots who are at the top of the waitlist will have the option to claim a plot next.
6) If there is still more space, New Members who have met all of the member requirements from the previous summer and are next on the waitlist will have the option to claim a plot.
- due to the high demand for plot space only 1 plot can be designated per household.
Keys are a precious commodity.
1) Keys and plots are non-transferable. When a member leaves the garden for any reason they must return their key to the Membership Coordinator.
This means you cannot make copies or give your key out to your roommate/friend/neighbor to take over your plot or to access the garden.
2) Current members may LOAN their key to a friend to help maintain their plot if they are out of town etc. but they may not make duplicates of the key. Make sure to contact the Member Coordinator to notify; and introduce your friends to garden members. Allowing someone to water your plot or tend to it while you are on vacation is determined at the gardener’s discretion, though it is strongly suggested that garden members look to New Members and other garden members to assist when possible.
3) You have to be 18 years old to get a key.
1) After 3 active seasons in the garden each member in good standing who has a plot is entitled to take a one year seasonal sabbatical.
2) Their plot will be tended either by their current plot partners or by gardeners at the top of the plot wait list.
3) Members on sabbatical will have the right to return to their original plot after their year away.
4) Members must inform the Member Coordinator of their intent to take a sabbatical by June 15th.
5) Members must inform the Member Coordinator of their intent to reclaim their plot by the following March 1st.
6) In the case that a member requires an emergency sabbatical subsequent to June 15th the garden President(s) must be notified and determination will be made on a case by case basis:
- Members must contact (Co) President as soon as possible to request the sabbatical.
- The plot will be given to either an interested gardener or a New Member to tend in their absence, and the member can return to that plot at the end of their sabbatical during the current season or at the beginning of the next season.
1) For any expenditure valued at less than $250 or action of the garden that will happen within three months of the meeting, decisions can be made by simple majority among attendees at a member meeting.
2) For any expenditure greater than $250 or any decision impacting the Membership Commitments, the by-laws or with long-term impact beyond 3 months, a quorum of the garden must be obtained to vote on the proposal.
3) IF Quorum is not reached at the meeting it will be reached through e-mail, phone or mail in a reasonable amount of time.
- A quorum is 3/4 of the total garden membership determined by the number of members
who have been in the garden longer than one year. (2 individuals functioning as 1 “member” and sharing a plot have 1 vote).
- A 2/3rds majority of the quorum is required to pass a given proposal.
- New Members cannot be counted towards a quorum, but they do have the right to vote.
- New Members must be present to vote.
- Other Guidelines
1) Garden Membership commitments (especially those for becoming a New Member) will be publicized at the garden gate and on our website and through the (Co) President.
2) For members who do not have access to email Membership Coordinator will manage outreach and communication.
3) Individuals interested in participating in the garden but who do not want a plot will be considered Non-Plot holding members. Commitment is as follows:
- Attend 1 meeting and 1 work day per season
- Complete a minimum of 2 open hour sessions
- Maintain the tenets of the by-laws and participate in the garden community
LEADERSHIP AT THE HOLLENBACK COMMUNITY GARDEN
- Steering Committee Structure
- The Garden membership will elect a Steering Committee.
- The Steering Committee will optimally consist of 5-7 members:
- Co-Presidents (2)
- Membership Co-coordinators (1-2)
- Garden Operations Co-coordinators (2)
- Treasurer (1)
- Elections will be held at the October member meeting
- Any Hollenback Garden member in good standing (i.e., dues are fully paid and all garden commitments have been met) can run for a position on the Steering Committee
- Hollenback Garden New Members are not eligible to run for Steering Committee positions
- The Steering Committee is a 2 year commitment
- Members of the Steering Committee are eligible to run for re-election if they want to do so.
- If a member of the Steering Committee resigns mid-term, a special election will be held within 30 days of the notice of resignation to replace him/her. Elections for the vacated position will be held regularly after that.
- If a position remains vacant prior to the special election being held, existing members of the Steering Committee will assume the responsibilities of the vacant position.
- Every effort must be made by the Hollenback Garden members to fill any vacant position within 30 days of the notice of resignation, or during regularly held elections (whichever comes first).
- Members of the Steering Committee will be excused from performing open hours.
- The Steering Committee will conduct monthly meetings to ensure continuity of garden business and operations. Notes will be maintained for all meetings and updates incorporated into the subsequent member meeting agenda.
- Role/Responsibility of the Steering Committee:
- Uphold the By Laws and ensure that all actions and decisions are consistent with the By Laws structure
- Act upon the wishes of the General Membership as agreed to by majority vote or general consensus during the garden meetings
- Serve as a liaison between the Hollenback Garden and the outside community. “Community” in this case includes, but is not limited to, other garden associations, government bodies, area block associations, academic institutions, interested parties and the general population. Basically anyone not associated with Hollenback Garden.
- Any positions put forth by the Steering Committee on behalf of Hollenback Garden when liaising with the Community shall be first agreed upon by the General Membership – either through majority vote or general consensus during an open meeting.
- Represent the goals, ideals and by laws of Hollenback Garden in good faith as agreed to by the General Membership
- Faithfully perform the duties of their office as defined in the job descriptions above
- Ensure reliable and responsive follow up to the community, garden partners and members via regular email check in and response
- Any use of funds by the Steering Committee must be agreed upon by the general consensus of the General Membership
- If any member of the Steering Committee is believed to be in violation of his/her roles as outlined above by any member of Hollenback Garden, the process outlined below in Section 4 Concerns should be followed.
- If, after following the process outlined in Section 4 Concerns, a member of the Steering Committee is believed to be in violation of his/her role, s/he can be removed from office by a majority vote of the General Membership. The vacated role must be filled within 30 days.
- Steering Committee meeting minutes must be maintained for reference and historical purpose by the Co-Presidents
- Member meeting minutes must be distributed within 2 weeks of meeting and posted on website
- Members are expected to stay abreast of garden activities and decisions. Meeting minutes will be shared/posted for member review. Members will be held accountable to information provided via meeting minutes.
- If there is a concern about a member(s) on the Steering Committee or a decision that the Steering Committee has made, garden members should:
- 1 – Approach the (Co) President or a member(s) of the Steering Committee with their concern prior to any general garden meetings
- 2 – The Steering Committee will then put this concern on their meeting agenda.
- 3 – If the issue cannot be resolved by the Steering Committee, it will be brought to the general membership
The following are the duties of the positions that make up the Steering Committee:
Duties of Membership Coordinator(s) (1-2)
In terms of Record Keeping
– Update attendance at all meetings, events and workdays (members who are not sure if they were counted should contact this person)
– Inform gardeners of their attendance via notifications at least 3 times during the season
– Initiate targeted outreach out to members who have not been active/involved during the first few months of the season to check in and encourage their participation
– Work with members to help figure out how they can fulfill their membership commitments
– Create Open Hour sign-up sheets/sign-in sheets- including via website
– Make sure garden maintains Open-Hour commitment (Check that slots are
being filled and that everyone is signing up)
– Update garden member contact information
– Coordinate communication and outreach to members without email access
In terms of New Members
– Respond to interest/questions from new members within 1-2 weeks unless time sensitive
– Ensure that membership commitment information, garden contact information and open hours/events are displayed at garden gate
– Coordinate garden orientation for new gardeners (This includes setting a schedule of set “New Member Orientation” dates during the season). Identify a member volunteer to support this effort and to assist with the orientation process
– Hold New Member waitlist lottery-New Member plot – find an experienced gardener to coordinate planting and harvesting
Duties of Garden Operation Coordinators (2)
In terms of Day to Day Operations
– Organize workdays
– Be mindful of seasonal workday chores
– Oversee garden repairs
-Outline tasks to be accomplished during OH including garbage/recycling; watering of common spaces, etc.
– Move the cone in the composting toilet and empty water bilge regularly.
– Provide seasonal maintenance (removing the plunger for the rainwater harvester in the spring, replacing the plunger in the late fall, coordinate snow shoveling/leaf drop off)
– Take attendance at workdays and send to record keeping coordinator –
-Designate a candidate(s) each season to be responsible for monitoring the rain water harvester. This means emptying the bypass chambers after every rainfall and adding bleach to the container once a month.
In terms of Big Picture Operations
– Make sure garden is operating in accordance with membership agreement
– Preserve and present garden history
– Explain rain water harvester, composting toilet, composting system
– Set project agendas
– Manage/liaise with compost and water management sub committee coordinator
– Make sure garden is represented at GreenThumb tool and plant giveaways
– Makes sure there is photo evidence of garden events and projects
– Create and propose annual workday calendar
-Coordinate necessary education about garden operations and engage outside entities (Earth Matter for composting, etc)
-Monitor any safety hazards in the garden and rectify them should the need arise
-Place and maintain signage throughout garden
-With membership coordinator, maintain plot map. Update seasonally.
-Coordinate Water Management and Compost Management liaisons.
-respond to Operations related inquiries within 1-2 weeks unless time sensitive
Duties of Co-Presidents (1-2)
– Conflict resolution
– Serve as contact person for garden; check garden email throughout week and respond within 1 week unless time sensitive
– Loose ends
– Set agenda for Steering Committee meetings and for membership meetings
– Facilitate monthly membership meetings
– Ensure minutes are recorded and maintained for all meetings (this could also be done by a secretary or by a volunteer present at the meeting)
– Distribute member meeting minutes within 2 weeks of the meeting to all members (can be via email/website); ensure all minutes are housed on website
– Take attendance at Steering Committee meetings and membership meetings and submit to membership coordinator
– Serve as back up representative for Hollenback in BQLT (or any other land trust which hold the deed to Hollenback)
-Liaise with Community Coordinator position; support outreach and communicate with neighbors and block association, other gardens and other gardening groups
-Liaise with Events sub committee coordinator
– Disseminate important information to garden membership
– Ensure maintenance of website- this can be via Website liaison volunteer from membership
– Announce gardening workshops/conferences in a timely manner
– Maintain e-mail account – check e-mail and respond or forward to appropriate committee/coordinator/person in a timely fashion
Duties of Treasurer (1)
– Maintain budget
– Maintain garden bank account
– Collect dues; initiate targeted outreach specifically to those members who are delinquent with dues
– Keep track of dues paid
– Deposit checks
– Reimburse expenditures
– Write small grant applications/delegate writing of small grant applications
– Propose annual budget for garden approval
– Report on garden accounts at meetings
-respond to related inquiries within 1-2 weeks
The garden community is committed to maintaining a relationship with the greater community garden network and the local neighborhood of Clinton Hill. A primary mechanism used to accomplish this is garden Open Hours. As part of the land trust agreement all gardens are expected to make the garden accessible to the community by maintaining a regular schedule of time when the garden is open (20 hours per week). Hollenback addresses this by posting a schedule of days/times when the garden will be reliably open. Members commit to being present in the garden to conduct open hours.
- Up to 2 members can work during 1 discrete shift
- To meet annual member commitment no less than 4 shifts can be attended; members are encouraged to do 1 shift per month and to keep the garden open whenever they are there as a means of welcoming the community to visit
- Membership Coordinator will maintain a sign up system that is available to all members
As an additional means of accomplishing Open Hours the garden will establish special open hour activities. These can be developed throughout the season but must be approved and posted at least 2 weeks prior to the date. For example, a member can plan a “family day” and arrange for some activities that will encourage families to come by; this would be advertised at least 2 weeks in advance and would support open hour expectations. Any activity of this nature can count as 1 open hour shift completed. For these activities multiple members can participate—it is not limited to just two members; which is the structure for a standard open hours slot.
Community Liaison (1 person)- credit toward 1 meeting and 1 work day
- This position will liaise to the Steering Committee via the President(s) and will attend Steering Committee meetings when deemed appropriate.
- Acts as representative/liaison to BQLT with a back-up alternate (either a volunteer or the garden President if no volunteer). In this capacity will ensure that ALL BQLT membership meetings are attended by a Hollenback member. During the garden season will work to ensure that all BQLT operations meetings are attended.
- Is responsible to provide or obtain notes from BQLT meetings and submit them to the President(s) within 1 week of the meeting in order to ensure they are included in the next member meeting agenda.
- Will obtain official minutes from BQLT for prior month.
- Will vote on behalf of Hollenback at annual BQLT meeting.
- As the liaison will keep BQLT abreast of garden needs, activities and projects; including providing schedule of Hollenback meetings and events.
- Will initiate outreach to the broader community garden network and the local community. This will include development of methods to interact with other local gardens in a social and/or mutually supportive manner.
- Will support the development of the “alternative” open hour activities to promote more open time and community interaction in the garden. This may include development of workshops or seminars for garden members or community.
- All activities must be approved by Membership.
Garden Sub Committees
Liaisons will be volunteers and must be full members (new members cannot take on SC or liaison role) and will work in conjunction with the designated Steering Committee member. These positions should be presented as an option to all members and cannot be appointed without all members having option to volunteer.
All members/new members will have the opportunity to participate in support of events and activities coordination throughout the season. When appropriate requests for credit will be presented for vote by membership.
In order for sub-committee liaisons to gain credit there must be a general update on activities included in all member meetings
Water management liaison (1 person)- credit toward 1 work day
- Responsible to track and oversee that water barrels are filled and common areas are watered; and communicate to leadership any concerns
- Water tasks will be completed by members during open hours
- Liaise with Operations SC member
Compost management liaison (1 person)- credit toward 1 work day
- Learn about system and educate membership
- Schedule special work days as needed (1/2 credit for small group sessions)
- Compost will be turned during all regular work days
- Liaise with Operations SC member
Events coordinator (1 person) – credit toward 1 work day
- Recruit garden members to participate in development of events calendar for the season
- Organize planning for events
- Identify needs/tasks and recruit members to support/plan specific events
- Ensure notification to membership and in community with support of steering committee
- Liaise with Co-Presidents