Garden Policy

Waite Park Community Garden

2019 Registration Information and Garden Policies

Welcome to the 2019 growing season! We are so excited for another summer in the garden with our neighbors!

In this document, we’ll explain the new 2019 registration process, as well as all the garden policies that will help us to have an enjoyable, productive, and safe experience together as a garden community. We hope this document will answer any questions you have—but if we’ve missed something, please contact us at

Registration Information:

New gardeners and returning gardeners have different registration processes. Both processes involve using an online form to collect information about the gardeners. Both also involve an in-garden orientation. All gardeners—new and returningmust complete an in-garden orientation for the 2019 season.

If you’re a new gardener, please plan to join us for our new gardener registration event at the Waite Park Community Center on April 13th from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. At this event, new folks interested in joining the garden will have the opportunity to complete the online registration form, ask questions about the garden, and get their name on the list for plot assignment. If there are more new gardeners than available garden plots, plots will be distributed randomly; new gardeners who did not receive a plot in the lottery will receive priority for the 2020 season. New gardeners’ registrations will be complete when they attend an in-garden orientation.

If you’re a returning gardener, please start the registration process by filling out the online registration form: Returning gardeners will complete the registration process by attending an in-garden orientation.

All gardeners must complete an in-garden orientation to complete their registration process. At the orientation, we’ll give a tour of the garden, get folks signed up for the garden work days, teach people how to safely use the garden tools, and collect plot fees. There are two orientation dates gardeners can choose from; gardeners only have to attend one orientation:

    • Sunday, May 5th, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 11th, from 10:00 to 12:00 p.m.

Gardeners who cannot attend either date can arrange for a one-on-one orientation with a garden lead. If you need an individual orientation, please email us by May 19th to schedule the orientation. Gardeners have until June 1st to complete their orientation.

2019 Garden Policies and Rules:

As a community garden, we want to be a place where people can grow healthy food for their families and build relationships with their neighbors. We see both the food and the relationships as important in sustaining us.

All of our rules and policies have been developed with the intention of helping us to build a community garden where:

    • We can grow food for ourselves and our families without harmful chemicals.
    • We can relax and restore ourselves by interacting with the natural world.
    • We can meet neighbors and build relationships over shared interests.
  • We can help each other and the garden be successful.

If at any point, you have a question about the policies and rules discussed below, please contact a garden lead, and they can explain why we have adopted the rule or policy. We value transparency and will be happy to explain the intention behind our decisions.

Garden Work Days:

Just like our plots need regular upkeep, so do the common spaces in our garden. To get the work done, we rely on gardeners who participate in the mandatory work days. Because all gardeners contribute to the garden through work hours, we’re able to keep the plot fees low. Work days are also a great opportunity to get to know other gardeners.

All gardeners are required to complete 6 hours of work for the garden over the growing season. Garden work hours are earned by completing tasks for the common areas of the garden, not working in your individual plots. At the orientation sessions, gardeners will sign up for at least three work days. Work day shifts are two hours long and scheduled on Saturday mornings (10 a.m. to 12 p.m.) or Tuesday evenings (6 p.m. to 8 p.m.). Below are the work days for 2019:

    • Saturdays: May 25, June 8, June 22, July 6, July 20, August 3, August 17, August 31, September 14, September 28, October 12.
    • Tuesdays: May 14, May 28, June 11, June 25, July 9, July 23, August 6, August 20, September 3, September 17, October 1.
  • If neither Tuesday evenings nor Saturday mornings work for you, please contact a garden lead to arrange an alternate work schedule.

At the work days, gardeners will check in with the garden lead on site. Garden leads will assign tasks for the work day and track the hours worked. Work hours will be recorded and tracked on a Google Spreadsheet by the garden leads, which will be available for gardeners to view and check their hours. Gardeners who do not complete their work hours this season will not be invited back next season.

Second Plots and Abandoned Plots:

Every year, we have some gardeners who want more growing space and others who find that a plot is a bit too much for them. Here’s how we’ll be handling each situation:

  • Abandoned Plots: After June 1st if a plot becomes unkempt and you think it’s been abandoned, please reach out to a garden lead to let us know. We’ll check in with the gardener and see if they are planning to return. If they aren’t (or if we don’t hear back from them within a week), we’ll give it to a returning gardener who’s looking for a second plot (with no plot fee and no additional work hours).
  • Second Plots: We want to make sure as many of our neighbors who want to join the garden can do so. To make space for our neighbors to join our garden community, we’re not assigning second plots until all the new gardeners have been assigned a plot. If there are plots remaining, garden leads will have first priority for second plots to incentivize leadership in the garden. Additional remaining plots will be offered to returning gardeners based on seniority. Second plots are only available to returning gardeners.
    • Please note: gardeners who are awarded second plots at the beginning of the season (not due to abandonment), are required to complete 6 additional hours of garden work.

Plot Care Requirements:

In our community garden, the plots are very close together. Because our plots are so close, the choices we make about how to tend our own plots end up impacting our neighbors’ plots. For that reason, we’ve established the following rules about plot care requirements. Please help us maintain a cooperative community garden space by observing the following rules:

    • No chemical pesticides and/or fertilizers in the garden. Natural, organic soil amendments and fertilizers are allowed, though they must be 10-10-10 or less.
    • Avoid digging near the red flags and into the subsoil. We are very lucky to have an irrigation system, which travels throughout the garden. Digging too deeply can damage the irrigation system. If in the event the irrigation system is damaged, contact the water lead.
    • Please do not use foreign materials that will leach chemicals into the soil for weed control (ex: carpets, tar paper). Our garden has received leaf mold to use; it is fantastic as a mulch and weed blocker. Please feel free to use that or another natural material (such as straw or grass clippings) for weed control instead.
    • Remove all weeds from your garden as soon as possible. Please do not allow the weeds to go to seed.
    • All trash, weeds, and heavy stalked plants (e.g., Brussels sprouts, broccoli plants) must be disposed of offsite. Please do not put them in the compost bins. Use yard waste bags to take your weeds and heavy stalked plants home with you for collection. WPCG does not have trash or yard waste removal services.
    • Due to their impacts on neighboring plots, gardeners may not grow the following plants in their garden plots:
        • Sunflowers
        • Corn (please note: this is a new restriction for the 2019 season)
        • Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes
        • Shrubs
        • Berry Bushes
        • Perennials (for exceptions, please contact perennial lead)
        • Fruit Trees
    • Gardeners who become unable to tend their plot over the course of the growing season should reach out to a garden lead as soon as possible to arrange for someone else to take over their plot.
  • At the end of the season, please remove plant debris from the plot. If you intend to return next season, you may keep materials such as tomato cages or trellises, in your plot.

General Garden Rules:

To make sure that all gardeners can feel valued, respected, safe, and relaxed in the garden, please observe the following rules about how we will be together in community:

    • Be respectful of other gardeners, their plots, and common spaces.
    • Lock the garden gates upon entering and exiting the garden. We have had issues with people who are not gardeners coming in and taking our gardeners’ crops. Keeping the gates locked at all times ensures that people entering the garden are gardeners.
    • Children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult for their safety.
    • Pets are not allowed in the garden. Dogs may be leashed outside the fence, away from the gates, so that people can enter and exit without interacting with them. This helps us to make the garden accessible to folks with allergies, phobias, and cultural requirements to avoid interactions with dogs.
    • No smoking in the garden.
    • When other gardeners are present, please use headphones if you would like to listen to music or other audio. For many gardeners, their time in their plot is an opportunity to disconnect and enjoy the sounds of the wind, the birds, and insects. Please help your neighbors enjoy this opportunity to relax by limiting noise.
  • At any time throughout the day, the last gardener to leave must turn off the water.

The vast majority of our interactions in the garden are positive. Our gardeners share tips with each other, water each other’s plots when we go on vacation, and share excess plants, supplies, and crops. However, we recognize that conflicts may arise. If at any time, you feel a gardener has been disrespectful, aggressive, or otherwise destructive of the kind of community we’re trying to build together, please contact a garden lead or officer to report the behavior. The garden officers will review the complaint and discuss the behavior with the offending gardener. Disrespectful, aggressive behavior and serious breaches of the garden rules will result in termination from the garden without a refund of plot fees; ejected gardeners will not be invited back to the garden in the future.

WPCG Organizational Rules and Policies:

The Waite Park Community Garden relies on volunteers who work year-round to support the garden. We have four officers who are responsible for overseeing all garden business. In addition, we have garden leads, who take on targeted responsibilities for the garden. Finally, we have two general garden meetings, in Spring and in Fall, which allow interested garden members to give input, feedback, and make suggestions about how to maintain and improve our garden. Please refer to the webpage for the garden leads and their descriptions.

Our 2019 officer positions are:

  • President: Georgia Smith
      • Oversees the operations of the garden processes: registration, communication, water set-up, mowing, composting, perennial garden, grapes, hops, fruit trees and garden events
      • The president is the primary contact for the garden officers and leads and assists their delegating of work tasks.
      • Improves garden rules and policy with the assistance of the steering committee, (officers and garden leads.)
      • Sets the dates for the garden calendar and officiates the Spring and Fall meetings.
      • Approves the garden’s budget with the vice president and treasurer. Approves all garden purchases and makes funding requests to WPCC for garden projects
      • Seeks and implements projects for the garden’s development and sustainability
      • Trains the vice-president in all garden responsibilities, so that they are prepared for future leadership.
    • Assists in conflict management.
  • Vice-President: Samantha Saunders
      • Helps the president enforce the rules of the garden and is the secondary contact for the garden leads.
    • Helps with the overall operation of the garden such as garden expenditures, task assignments, garden project development and conflict resolution.

Notifies communication lead to send out an email (composed by president and vice president) to steering committee members (officers and leads) the date, time and location of meeting.

  • Secretary: Open
      • Set meeting agendas with the WPCG President and Vice-President
      • Takes notes and meeting minutes from general garden meetings and steering committee and sends to communication lead.
    • Organize and update official documents.
  • Treasurer: Kathleen Cole
      • Develops WPCG budget, in consultation with officers
      • Secures annual funding from the Waite Park Community Council for the garden
      • Maintains expense reports and budget tracking
      • Issues reimbursements for garden expenses
    • Files all necessary reports and reimbursement requests with the City of Minneapolis

Election of Officers:

    • Officers will be elected with an in-person vote at the fall garden meeting. All positions are elected by majority vote.
    • The term length for officers is one year. Officers may be re-elected for a maximum of three consecutive terms for the same position (with the exception of the treasurer, who is the treasurer of the Waite Park Community Council).
    • Only gardeners in good standing (i.e. completed work hours, no outstanding payment or behavioral issues) are eligible for election.
    • Gardeners who complete three consecutive one-year terms in one officer position are eligible to run for a different officer position.
    • Gardeners who have previously completed three consecutive one-year terms in an officer position are eligible to run for the same position after one year out of that office.
    • At least three of the four officer positions must be held by residents of the Waite Park Neighborhood.
    • The president in consultation with the other officers selects garden leads.
  • If an officer steps down from their position during the course of the year, the president, in consultation with the steering committee, will fill the position with another gardener.

Our 2019 garden leads are:

    • Communication Lead: Shane Webber
    • Registration Lead: Karl Gilbertson
    • Water Lead: Karl Gilbertson
    • Mowing Lead: Meg Beisner
    • Perennial Garden Lead: Andrew Gawboy
    • Compost Lead: Connie Stauffer
    • Grapes Lead: Samantha Saunders
    • Hops Lead: Aaron Bach
  • Social Events Lead: Rosie Heille

Garden Meetings:

The Waite Park Community Garden will hold a minimum of two general gardener meetings per year (one in spring, the other in fall). All gardeners are welcome to attend. At the meetings, we will review garden policies and procedures and vote for officers, normally at the Fall meeting. Below are our rules about voting at WPCG meetings:

    • Each garden plot has one vote. Gardeners with a second plot do not get a second vote. Plots with multiple gardeners may only cast one vote.
    • Votes by proxy or in-absentia are not accepted.
    • At the fall meetings, gardeners will vote to elect the officers for the following year.
  • At the spring meetings, gardeners may express concerns, make suggestions and ask questions. Gardeners will review any revisions made to the annual policy document.

Steering Committee meetings:

Two or more steering committee meetings may be scheduled by the president and vice president complete with agenda.