PROJECT UPDATE: February 22, 2012 - We're pulling this project up again and hope to have it out by the end of March 2012. Please contribute ideas below in the comments section.

I’m in the process of writing a workbook for yard sharing groups and I could use your input!
The success of any garden share depends entirely on the expectations set by the entire group at the outset of the relationship between the members of the group. Respect of each other’s needs and hopes for the project should be a given.

It’s important to keep the workbook a flexible tool. I am assuming groups will have different needs regarding the formality of their agreements. My question to you is what sort of things would you need to work through in an agreement with your yardsharing members before you felt comfortable forming a working group?

* What needs to be in your agreement?
* What would be a deal breaker?
* What questions would you have for the garden or property owner?
* What questions would you have for the gardeners in the group?
* What questions would you want to work through regarding finances for your group?
* What is important to formalize?
* What is important to keep loose?

These agreements will depend only on what each group sorts through. How can we help make these groups enjoyable and workable for all the people involved?

Thank you in advance for sharing your thoughts!

The plan is to charge a small fee for the workbook to raise money for keeping the site going.

Tags: 2012, foot, gardens, hyperlocal, hyperlocavore, lasagna, locavore, notill, organic, peakoil, More…permaculture, square, sustainable, victory, yardshare, yardsharing

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Liz, I am adding little placards into the yard so that anyone passing by knows what I am doing here. It might be something that would go well into the workbook?
That's a great idea! Yes! Thanks! I think even if our neighbors aren't actually into doing it with us, getting them involved by letting them know what's up is a good thing! Anything that encourages communication is always good!

i think it's more of a personal agreement...

one thing would be to have some kind of contract so that if for whatever reason things change each side has time to deal with it. 

like; if the land has to get sold, then the others using the land need to have time to remove the plants they wish to keep and any tools they have been storing...things like that.

over all it seems to me to be a more open, loose agreement solely depending on each sides needs and wants.

Would the garden be organically maintained?  What does organically maintained mean to members of the group and the garden owner?

What if a member of the group does not follow through with planting, maintaining, and/or harvesting?

What happens to "extra" produce?  Will it be donated, sold, etc

Thanks Beuna!

I would need a template for release of liability. Now that I have a home I'd need to know how to protect it from injury claims. I know I'd never sue someone for an injury that I caused myself but there are too many people who might. It's hard to open up your home to strangers nowadays.

There will definitely be some links to legal tools and references...but we are not qualified to give anyone legal advice. This is a request that comes up a lot though.

THANKS!

One of my biggest concerns would be finding people who use similar gardening techniques....I was Certified Naturally Grown when I lived at a bedding plant nursery and want to use organic standards...plus...mulches, cover crops, companion planting...how to find people who want to garden the same way?  One idea has been for new gardeners to come here to learn how to garden in this way...

Water useage is also an issue, as it can be very expensive and hoses left running, etc could really be  problematic. Soaker hoses and timers are great, but need to be purchased, installed and maintained.

I think food banks are a great way to distribute abundance,,,as well as canning and dehydrating...perhaps groups could agree on their priorities.

I think group consensus would be the best for most issues. There needs to be agreement before the season begins, or as it continues if new members join, say for the fall season.  

Agreements clear upfront.....so having something in writing as an option could be helpful, if the people don't really know each other well

      things like.....use of chemicals, types of plants--like ones that take over--or might shade another's plants should be spelled out. (formal)

      time of day.  watering,  tools

      respectful communication -- list processes by which conflict is worked through--to resolution or not -and what that looks like.

      cultivating a cooperative culture--to share, and share care when someone is away for a while.

      creating community--potlucks, work parties.  

     

The use of things indoors when gardening-the restroom/kitchen-and being sure to not track in dirt. Water and the cost as well as use of the garden paid for with produce of help in the owners garden space? cleaning up end of season dead stuff and what to do with things like that/compost/mulch as mentioned. Appearance of the garden....casual and "natural" or more organized for some is a big deal. The more spelled out the better in the beginning so there are no upsets later is how I would look at it.

Thank you folks! I appreciate your input!

This thread is very beneficial!!! Here are my thoughts:

* What needs to be in your agreement?

Sustainable methods (minimal external resources)

Organic compost (no synthetic chemicals/fertilizers) and minimal plastics/toxic materials

Continuous evolution

* What would be a deal breaker?

Synthetic chemicals
* What questions would you have for the garden or property owner?

What feelings, ideas, processes, or duties do you want to avoid or include?

How much time are you able and willing to commit?

How much of a harvest are you comfortable with?

How will irrigation occur?
* What questions would you have for the gardeners in the group?

How can we diversify and build resilience? Where else can we start a small garden for someone?

Which weeds do you leave behind or take away?

How much and how often do you water?
* What questions would you want to work through regarding finances for your group?

What new materials can we salvage and where can we store them?

Can we share seed orders and use labor and resource exchange?

* What is important to formalize?

Vision: How are we moving forward? (Can we build year-round greenhouses, solar dehydrators, rain barrels and drip-irrigation systems, chicken tractors, new gardens)

* What is important to keep loose?

Action: Who is growing what where?

 Thank you so much!

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