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By Laws and Membership Rules

Page history last edited by Mark Trushkowsky 13 years, 1 month ago

Hollenback Community Garden By Laws and Membership Requirements



All Members Agree to:


1) Sign this contract agreeing to the following guidelines by June 15th of every growing season.


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 one open hour session per month. Members are not allowed to miss more than 4 shifts per season. One shift is a 2 hour session. 

Open Hour Shifts will be:

  • Thursday 6-8
  • Saturday 4-6
  • Sunday 10-12, 2-4, 4-6


Each Plot Agrees to:


4) Attend at least 4 out of 8 meetings per season.

The first and last meetings of the year will no longer be considered mandatory, but as in the past, much important business is taken care of at these meetings, 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 can not be in attendance.


Up to two (2) out of the four (4) Meetings can be fulfilled with the suggestions 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.  The following alternatives for Meetings are approved:


a.     Attend a Brooklyn Queens Land Trust meeting. 


b.      Organize or Facilitate a workshop at the garden for the garden or neighborhood.  (Workshop ideas must be presented to the membership for approval and to enable the workshop organizer to solicit volunteers and other support.)  


c.     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 needs to be approved by the membership.)


d.     Attendance at two (2) Hollenback committee meetings (ex: Education or Rules committee) will count for one (1) Meeting credit.


5) Work at least 4 workdays or events per season (at least a 3 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.


6) Plant their plot by June 15th


Consequences for not fulfilling Membership Rules & Responsibilities #1-6


1) If any Member with a plot does not adhere to the membership rules, they will lose their 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 Member without a plot or an Apprentice does not adhere to the membership guidelines, they will lose their key and be placed at the bottom of the wait list for plot eligibility. They can reapply as Apprentices for the next season.



1) New people can join the garden their first season by attending either a workday or a meeting between March 15th to June 15th. These new members are called Apprentice members.


2) Apprentices will be given a key after paying dues and attending 2 meetings and 1 workday in their first season.


3) If Apprentices fulfill regular member rules #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 Apprentice. To get a key they personally need to 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 loose their key the following year.


5) Apprentices will help tend communal areas, potentially including plots that are not planted by June 15th. 


6) New members will not be accepted after June 15th.


7) You must be 18 years old to join the garden.




1) There are three tiers of membership used to determine the waitlist.

  • a. Members with plots.
  • b. Members without plots.
  • c. Apprentices.


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 an apprentice all fail to meet the membership requirements, they will appear at the bottom of the waitlist in the same order (member w/ plot, member w/out plot, apprentice).


3) Determining order of Apprentices on the wait list:

  • A. In the week following June 15th, a lottery will be done to determine the rank of Apprentices who have expressed interest in becoming members.
  • B. It will be a random lottery drawing of names.
  • C. From this, the master list of apprentices will be made to determine their spot on the wait list.
  • D. Apprentices 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.



 1) New plots will be distributed at the First meeting of each season.


2) If there is open space, current members will have the option to expand their plots to reach a total maximum of 4 X 8 Ft per household.

-The proposed maximum space of 4 X 8 square feet per household is to be put into effect for the 2008 season. This proposal is not to be put into effect retroactively.


3) 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 an apprentice.


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, 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, Apprentices 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.



 Keys are a precious commodity.

 1) Keys and plots are non-transferable.

This means you can not make copies or give your key out to your roommate/friend/neighbor to take over your plot.


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 coordinator and introduce your friends to garden members. Allowing someone to water your plot or tend to it while you are on vacation is done at the gardener’s discretion, though it is suggested that garden members look to apprentices and other garden members if at all 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 garden coordinators of their intent to take a sabbatical by June 15th.


5) Members must inform the garden coordinators of their intent to reclaim their plot by the following March 1st.


6) In the case of an emergency sabbatical from the garden:

a. Members must contact the garden coordinator as soon as possible to turn in their key.

b. The plot will be given to either an interested gardener or an apprentice 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.

c. The member going on sabbatical may also choose to rescind ownership of the plot, in which case it will go to the first person on the waitlist. Their membership will remain intact in the case of a rescinded plot and they will go to the top of the waitlist at the beginning of the next season.

d. It is a member’s responsibility to contact the coordinators if they need an emergency sabbatical.



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 the meeting.


2) For any expenditure greater than $250 or any decision impacting the Membership Rules, 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. 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. 

     b. A 2/3rds majority of the quorum is required to pass a given proposel.

     c. Apprentices can not be counted towards a quorum, but they do have the right to vote.

 d. Apprentices must be present to vote.


I. Other Guidelines


1) Garden Membership Rules (especially those for becoming a new member) will be publicized at the garden gate and on our website and through the Membership Coordinators.


2) Open Hour Buddies will increase accountability at Open Hours and make it more fun to show up for your timeslot.


3) A Phone Calling Tree will assign people who do have access to email to act as buddies for people who do not. As we move towards having more information about the garden online, this will ensure that people without access to email are kept in the loop and also build in another buddy system. 


4) Leadership Positions will create concrete roles for people who want to be more involved in Hollenback and will provide much needed leadership and support to the Garden Community.




1. Steering Committee   

  • The Garden membership will elect a Steering Committee.
  • The Steering Committee will optimally consist of 7 members:
    • Co-Presidents (2)
    • Membership Co-coordinators (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 open hour/work day commitments have been met) can run for a position on the Steering Committee
    • Hollenback Garden apprentices are not eligible to run for Steering Committee positions
  • The Steering Committee is a 2 year commitment
    • Exception: elections in 2011 will allow one year commitments for 3 Steering Committee members (1 co-president, 1 membership coordinator and 1 garden operations coordinator) in order to stagger the elections in future years.
    • 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 open meetings for the first hour of every garden meeting.


2. Concerns

  • 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 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 can not be resolved by the Steering Committee, it will be brought to the general membership


3. Role of the Steering Committee

  • The following are the duties of the seven positions that make up the Steering Committee:


Duties of Membership Co-coordinators (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

          -  Reach out to quiet members

          -  Work with members to help figure out how they can fulfill their    

          membership requirements

          -  Create Open Hour sign-up sheets

          -  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 phone tree to keep members without e-mail informed about   meetings,           events, workdays, important votes


            In terms of New Members

          -  Respond to interest/questions from new members

          -  Coordinate garden orientation for new gardeners (This includes setting a schedule of set           “New Member Orientation” dates over the course of the season)

          - Hold apprentice member waitlist lottery- Apprentice 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

          -  Move the cone in the composting toilet

          -  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 


          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

          -  Form/ take volunteers for events committee (An events committee can be made for the           entire season or for each individual event)

          -  Delegate committee leadership

          -  Making 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


Duties of Co-Presidents (2)


          -   Conflict resolution

          -   Serve as contact person for garden

          -   Loose ends

          -   Set agenda for coordinator meetings and for membership meetings

          -   Facilitate monthly membership meetings

          -   Take attendance at coordinator meetings and membership meetings and submit to           membership coordinator

          -    Take meeting minutes (this could also be done by a secretary or by a volunteer present           at the meeting – whoever takes them should type them up to be posted on Hollenback wiki           page)

          -  Serve as voting representative for Hollenback in BQLT (or any other land trust which           hold the deed to Hollenback)

          -   Outreach and Communicate with neighbors and block association

          -   Communicate with other gardens and other gardening groups

          -   Disseminate important information to garden membership

          -   Update wiki page

          -   Announce gardening workshops/conferences

          -   Maintain yahoo e-mail account – check e-mail and forward to appropriate           committee/coordinator/person


Duties of Treasurer (1)


          -  Maintain budget

          -  Maintain garden bank account

          -  Collect dues

          -  Keep track of dues paid

          -  Deposit checks

          -  Reimburse expenditures

          -  Write small grants/delegate writing of small grants

          -  Propose annual budget for garden approval

          - Report on garden accounts at meetings


  • The role of the Steering Committee will be to:
    • 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, 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 and ideals 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.
    • 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 above in Section 2 Concerns should be followed.
    • If, after following the process outlined in Section 2 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.

    4. Documentation

  • Steering Committee meeting minutes need to be posted on-line, by e-mail and at garden meetings.
    • The Membership Coordinators will be responsible for the drafting and posting of the meeting minutes.



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