Community Garden Row Agreement 2019/2020
Revised: October 2019
In partnership with the City of ABQ, Open Space Division, Rio Grande Community Farm (RGCF) manages the organic Community Garden at Los Poblanos Fields Open Space. The Community Garden is a two acre space on the northwest corner of the open space. Neighboring the community rows are the Alvarado Elementary School Wildlife Garden and the Albuquerque Area Extension Master Gardener Millennium Demonstration Garden. The Alvarado Garden attracts many kinds of pollinators and beneficial insects and is now in its thirteenth year. It also encourages children to learn ecological principles and develop English, Science and Math skills while planting and tending crops for wildlife. This is an awesome garden! Make sure to check it out sometime!
Community members who wish to participate in the Garden reserve rows/plots by the year. RGCF provides regular irrigation, additional water tanks for hand watering, garden tools, compost areas, chemical free horse manure, material for mulching and often seeds and other supplies. A Community Garden Coordinator will be available to answer questions, provide information on growing organically and support gardeners hands-on and via email.
After reading the following guidelines, please complete the final page (Liability Waiver and Registration) and return it to the Farm address above with payment made to Rio Grande Community Farm. This will officially reserve your row/s or plot/s for 2019/2020.
Community Garden Guidelines and Policies
1. Membership Fees: Garden memberships cost $100/year per row/plot. The membership fees help maintain our shared tools, water systems and community spaces as well as support staff A garden membership also costs your time and commitment. This include but is not limited to: caring for your soil, keeping your plants from encroaching on your neighbors, and pulling weeds so they don’t exhaust the soil and spread around the garden. Plan to come to the garden at least twice a week and spend 4+ hours caring for your garden space.
The garden year and garden memberships will end in December each year. At this time gardeners must choose to release their row, or commit to the next garden year (January to December). Gardeners can renew their row for the following year at any time by signing the agreement, and paying the membership fee. Rows become available to new or renewing gardeners beginning November 1st for the following year.
Membership fees are non-refundable. Garden memberships correspond with the calendar year and will expire in December 2020. Reduced fees & scholarships: These are available; please contact the Garden Coordinator at email@example.com for more info. Remember, there are many less fortunate than you, so please consider donating to help sponsor a gardener.
2. Rows/Plots: Each row measures approximately 1.5ft. x 80ft. of growing space. Each plot measures approximately 4ft. x 36ft of growing space. On both sides of the row are common area irrigation channels, called furrows. You share furrows with your garden neighbors, please share the work in keeping them clear! No water flow obstructions should be placed in the common areas. Furrows act as pathways along rows. Please avoid stepping in rows. All rows and furrows must remain free of weeds and debris during the growing season. You are responsible for the care of your own row AND the path area by your row. Please do not let any of your plants or structures escape your area or intrude upon your neighbors’ furrows or rows. Use of landscape cloth, cover crop or organic mulch for areas that you are not actively gardening is highly encouraged.
If weeds and/or debris are not removed, the gardener(s) will be contacted and have seven (7) days to remedy the situation or irrigation will be stopped on their rows until remedied. If after 2 notices, if no action is taken, the row(s) will be forfeited. It is very important to stay in contact with me about individual circumstances that may arise, such as vacations, and make arrangements with someone to care for your row while you are gone. You are responsible for cleaning and weeding your row when you are done with it, even if your row is forfeited, in order to leave the row in working condition for the next gardener.
Trees, shrubs, perennials are allowed ONLY in pots or containers. Vines and creeping plants are NOT allowed to be planted. Beware of wild ones that pop up, they spread very quickly. Sunflowers and other tall growing plants will only be allowed on a case by case basis as they may interfere with another gardener’s space. Gardeners may not plant anything illegal.
Please be responsible for checking your e-mails or the notice board at the garden at least twice a week for any updates from the Garden Coordinator – firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Organic Methods: No chemical herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers allowed (this includes non-organic “miracle-gro” products) RGCF is certified organic and we are committed to using organic practices in the garden. Products with a USDA Organic label or OMRI certification may be used. If you are unsure whether a product is allowed, please contact the coordinator or other RGCF staff. Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) seed or plants are not allowed to be used in the garden. If you have questions please contact RGCF, search online and find books on organic gardening at the local library!
Members are highly encouraged to add 3 inches or more of organic material or mulch by the end of the growing season. Mulch, mulch, mulch before the New Year! Cover crop seed may be available for planting from RGCF. Crop rotation is also highly encouraged.
4. Pest Management: Growing produce using organic methods requires committing to regular and frequent manual or organic pest, disease and virus control. Some types of plants that require continued and frequent pest controls are tomatoes, beans and squash/melons. You need to either handpick the bugs, their larvae and eggs daily or use some kind of organic insecticidal soap. Tomatoes and peppers are susceptible to wilt and viruses like curly top and must be pulled as soon as any sign of it appears to
prevent spreading the virus throughout the garden. If you do not wish to commit to the regular and frequent control these types of plants require, you should choose other types of crops to plant. Tomatoes, squash/melons and beans will require a lot of attention. Watch out for curly top virus, squash bugs and bean beetles! Diseased and infested plants MUST be pulled by the gardeners and put into black plastic bags. For more info on organic methods of pest control, do your own research or go to: http://www.organicgardenpests.com/. Please work with your neighbors and consider their needs, too, before you plant.
5. Irrigation: Irrigation in 2019/2020 will consist primarily of regularly scheduled flooding of the furrows. It will most likely happen once a week. Hand watering from water tanks will always be an option. Flooding usually begins in early April. Please contact the Garden Coordinator for specific dates.
6. Netting/Fencing: Many gardeners like to use netting or fencing to grow peas, beans and similar plants. If you use these materials, raise them at least 3 inches above the soil on your row. We have snakes, lizards and other small wildlife that do natural garden pest control in the community garden and we need to make it safe for them to travel throughout the garden. If you do not abide by the 3-inch rule, your netting/fencing will be removed.
7. Children: Children are very welcome at the Garden, but MUST be supervised at all times by an adult. Please teach your children “Garden Etiquette” — walking in furrows NOT on the rows, proper tool handling, and respecting all gardeners, garden rows and surrounding areas. Also instruct them to honor wildlife by not handling, chasing or moving them. Watch out for ants! Do not stand still in areas where ants are congregating, we’ve tried many methods of killing these colonies and they always come back.
8. Pets: Pets are NOT allowed in the community garden area. Their feces and urination can cause problems. Please also inform visitors that PETS ARE NOT ALLOWED for health reasons.
9. Tools: Shovels, rakes, hoes, watering cans, used gloves and some other tools are available for your use at the garden. The tool closet lock combination will be provided once your fees are paid. The combination is not to be shared with non-members. Each time you use the tool shed, it is your responsibility to lock it even if others are there. Make sure you know how to lock it securely and scramble the dials so no tools are stolen. Please do not take any tools off site. Return all tools cleaned and in good working order to the tool closet when done. There are wire brushes and scrapers to clean tools. If a tool is broken or not functioning well please leave a note on it and inform RGCF immediately. Please keep the tool closet tidy at all times!
10. Compost: Place only unwanted or decaying plants here. Diseased plants MUST be put in a black trash bag and then in the diseased plants/weeds bins. DO NOT put the following items in the compost bins: landscape cloth, plastic containers, netting, fencing or other non-plant items. Also, please do not add any grasses with roots, morning glory or bindweed as these will spread by their root systems, not just by seeds. Put re-useable materials in organized piles south of the shed and throw away things that cannot be used again. Please do not disturb, harm or handle any wildlife around compost bins.
11. Harvest: Please harvest only from your own rows. Notify RGCF if you suspect non-gardeners are stealing food. For your safety, DO NOT be confrontational.
12. Community groups, social events and workshops: RGCF will coordinate Community Garden social events, workdays and information sessions throughout the year. You’re encouraged to attend – they’re fun! Please check your email for announcements.
13. Bringing visitors to the garden: Any time you bring family or friends to the garden, who have never been there before, make sure that they understand that they can walk only in the furrows and never on top of the rows. Also explain that if they use tools, they need to be cleaned and returned to the tool shed. Please do not share the shed combination with non-members but make sure they know that the shed should be locked properly before leaving.
14. Safety: Always bring drinking water with you to the garden! We do not have a source of potable water at the garden and it is very hot during the growing season. Wear proper sun protection. Sun block, sunglasses and a hat are recommended while gardening in Albuquerque. You may also want to purchase a good pair of garden gloves to protect your hands and wear old clothes and shoes that you do not mind getting muddy. There is often mud at the garden! It is also a good idea to being a snack when you are at the garden to keep you going while/after you work.
15. Cooperation and Community: This project thrives best when all of our gardeners work together. Think of the garden as an orchestra: the conductor (coordinator) directs traffic and gives feedback, but it is up to the musicians (gardeners) to perform the symphony. We ask that you make a contribution of your time by visiting your row at least twice a week (4+ hours) as well as attending special clean-up days.
Get to know each other! Talking to other gardeners is a great way to learn about successful gardening methods and get ideas about what to do with your row. Also, getting to know each other is helpful if you want to do things together, for example, plan a group event in the shade structure (maybe a free market or a recipe share), or buy a huge load of compost and split the cost. Supporting each other through your community network can be helpful if you take the time to chat with each other.
It is wise to exchange contact info with the people who have rows directly north and south of you, you share furrows so what they do directly affects you. We have very limited storage space, so please do not store any personal items in the community areas or tool shed.
16. Accessibility: The community garden is not handicap accessible. Pathways between rows are narrow and often muddy. Parking is available in the main lot off of Montano but it is recommended you use the dirt lot west of Alvarado Elementary School. The Garden is a 20 minute walk from the Montano lot but just a 1 minute walk over a small bridge from the Alvarado Elementary School lot.
17. Community Garden Behavior: Please make sure NEVER to walk on rows, only in furrows. We are a “community” garden where everyone, including volunteers and guests (many groups of varying abilities help in the garden every week), should ALWAYS be treated with courtesy, respect and dignity. Our goal is to have a peaceful and caring atmosphere where ideas and thoughts can be freely shared, regardless of gardening experience. Any behavior outside that nature of conduct will NOT be allowed or tolerated. If anyone has an issue that they feel they cannot calmly talk about to a fellow gardener, please contact RGCF for help.
Behaviors that are not allowed in the garden include: smoking or illegal drug use, playing loud music, urinating or using the bathroom outside of the provided port-a-potty.
18. Row Agreement Violations: In instances of members’ violation(s) of the Row Agreement, three steps will be taken to remediate the situation. After these three steps are taken, should the issues recur, RGCF has the authority to void the Member Agreement at the expense of the member’s annual fee and tended row(s). Members who feel that this action is disproportionate or otherwise wrongful may appeal to the Board of Directors to be reinstated or otherwise resolve the issue. The procedure goes as follows:
1) RGCF informs the member in violation(s) of the Member Agreement rules of the infraction(s) in either written or verbal form and will make a written record of the incident.
2) Upon the second incident of rule violation, the member in question will be issued a formal warning in writing—either electronic or print—from RGCF detailing the violations and recommendations for remediating or avoiding further errors and consequences.
3) Upon the third incident of rule violation, the member in question will be given a final warning. This warning will detail all violations to date, and the member will asked to create a remediation plan within 7 days of the notice. Upon receipt of the remediation plan, RGCF has 7 days to approve, modify and negotiate a final remediation plan with the member.
If the remediation plan is not submitted in a timely fashion, or the member further violates their contract by straying from the remediation plan or breaking Member Agreement rules again, their row(s) and membership fees will be forfeited effective immediately. Further actions will be taken as necessary under legal advisement.
*NOTE: Violations, whether they are the same one repeated, or unrelated incidents, are members’ own responsibilities. Any time a member violates the Member Agreement, they should expect the next disciplinary action. RGCF maintains discretion as to whether or how to respond to infractions, depending on their severity or frequency.
Appeal Process: If, after the entire remediation/disciplinary protocol has been followed, and a member in question wishes to challenge the actions taken by RGCF, they may submit a letter to the Board of Directors stating their case for reconsideration or other desired resolutions. The appealing entity will be notified of their letter’s receipt within 14 days from the date submitted, to be heard and deliberated at the next scheduled Board meeting. Until the Board meeting occurs and a decision is made in response to their appeal, no appealing entity may contact RGCF/OSD representatives regarding the case. If an appeal is approved, the Board of Directors, in collaboration with Open Space staff and legal advisors, will determine the appropriate resolution and necessary actions to remediate the issue.
19. Personal Circumstances: During the course of the gardening season, it is possible to have personal circumstances come up that no longer allow you to come to the garden and tend to your row(s). If that happens, please notify RGCF by e-mail at email@example.com
IMPORTANT DATES for 2019/2020
Spring Equinox – March 20th
Spring work-party – End of March
First irrigation – Early April
Average last frost – May 1st
Summer Solstice – June 20th
Fall Equinox – September 22nd
Last irrigation – Mid October
Average first frost – Early October
End of season work-party – Late October
2019/2020 RGCF Garden Waiver of Liability
City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County Open Space Rules & Regulations
RGCF upholds all City and County Open Space regulations. These regulations are important in order for RGCF to ensure farming privileges with the City of Albuquerque Open Space Division.
The Open Space roads are available to the public for walking, jogging, cycling and horseback riding during the daylight hours.
Dogs and other pets must be on leash at all times and stay on the roads ONLY, not in the garden.
People and their pets must not harass wildlife.
Firearms and alcoholic beverages are prohibited.
Unauthorized vehicles are not permitted within the Open Space.
While visiting the rest of the Farm, please stay on the roadways.
Irrigation ditches are dangerous! Many ditches at the Farm are deep, with fast flowing water and slippery mud. DO NOT go in the ditches, and please keep children and pets away from the ditches.
Please respect and avoid disturbing the Farm’s neighbors.
Park in Open Space designated areas only. Do NOT drive/park on Open Space roads.
Rio Grande Community Farm (RGCF) manages the Community Garden at Los Poblanos Fields Open Space through a contract with the City of Albuquerque Open Space Division. The City does not operate or maintain the Community Garden.
1. While at the Community Garden and Los Poblanos Fields, I will adhere to City and County Open Space regulations.
2. I am physically and mentally able to perform the tasks associated with participating in the Community Garden.
3. I understand that I, in choosing to maintain City Property, do so voluntarily and with the clear understanding that there is some degree of risk of injury, illness or damages involved and that I will receive no payment, fee or remuneration from the City or RGCF for my work or materials. I assume all risk of injury, illness or damage that may arise from my participation.
4. In the event that I, my party, or members of my party suffer any injury, harm, loss, theft or damage, or suffer any other type of claimed damage arising from, or in any way related to the operations, premises, or design of the garden, I and all members of my party relinquish any and all rights, claims or causes of action I/we may have by law or statute against the City of Albuquerque or Rio Grande Community Farm including their agents, employees or volunteers.
5. I understand that, as a result of any work I do, I am not and will not be considered an employee of the City or RGCF, and am not eligible for any of the insurance coverage and benefits provided to regular paid personnel of the City or RGCF, including worker’s compensation and all health and medical benefits.
I have read and understand all the conditions and rules, as laid out in Community Garden Guidelines & Policies, and Liability Waiver that apply to being a RGCF Community Gardener. I agree to abide by all rules and conditions. Download Agreement