The NYC Parks Department program, Green Thumb, operates community gardens throughout New York City. The Green Thumb Handbook includes information about garden organization, which recommends that gardens create a set of bylaws to govern their activities. I reviewed the bylaws of several community gardens to compare how they are organized. The bylaws resemble my general garden rules including member and committee responsibilities, and governance.
Green Thumb recommends creating bylaws governing the operations of the garden and urges gardens to have new members read and sign off on the bylaws. They also recommend naming a treasurer to create and maintain a bookkeeping system. Gardens are not required to incorporate, but should ally with another party to serve as fiscal conduit to hold funds securely in a bank account. This can be Green Thumb or another body. My garden’s funds are held by the North Central Park Multi-Block Association.
Green Thumb recommends two additional organizations for additional information about financial concerns including Partnership for Parks and Citizens Committee of New York City. These organizations have information and can provide assistance with applying for 501(c)3 non-profit status in the State of New York.
Partnership for Parks supports collaboration and engagement between people and the government to help neighborhood parks thrive. They offer Capacity Fund Grants in amounts ranging from $250 to $5000 to strengthen membership, programming planning and outreach at community groups, such as parks.
Citizens Committee committed to helping New Yorkers, particularly those in low income communities, improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods. They provide small grants to community organizations, including gardens. The grants can help fund programs, such as composting and special events. They also provide workshops and project-planning assistance. The money adds up! The West 104th Street Garden received a $290 grant from Citizens Committee to support their composting initiative and $1000 in 2013 to rebuild the stage area.
Bylaws and Membership Rules. Hollenback Community Garden. Web. Retrieved from http://hollenback.pbworks.com/w/page/18771286/By%20Laws%20and%20Membership%20Rules
Citizens Committee of New York City. (n.d.). Web. Retrieved from http://www.citizensnyc.org/
Garden Bylaws: Carrie McCracken TRUCE Community. (n.d.). Web. Retrieved from http://harlemgarden.org/about/garden-by-laws/
The Green Thumb Gardeners’ Handbook. (2013). New York: Green Thumb / City of New York / Department of Parks & Recreation. Retrieved from http://www.greenthumbnyc.org/pdf/gardeners_handbook.pdf
Morris Jumel Community Garden: Garden Bylaws. (n.d.). Web. Retrieved from http://morrisjumelcommunitygarden.wordpress.com/bylaws/
Partnership for Parks. (n.d.). Web. Retrieved from http://www.partnershipforparks.org/library_links/index.html
Reminders, Rules and Regulations: West 104th Street Community Garden. (n.d.). Web. Retrieved from http://west104garden.org/rules.php