Vancouver, British Columbia Community Gardens Policy
Status: Revised on 9/19/05
The Board recognizes community gardening as a valuable recreation activity that can contribute to community development, environmental awareness, positive social interaction and community education. The Board will collaborate with interested groups in assisting the development of community gardens.
For the purposes of this policy, a community garden is defined as a community development program operated by a non-profit society. The program has one or more of the following features:
- A piece of land is utilized by the society to produce food and flowers for the personal use of society members.
- A community development program is in place which encourages the involvement of schools, youth groups and citizens who do not have an assigned plot in gardening activities.
- An organic community garden is maintained, that will increase the ecological biodiversity of Vancouver and provide increased understanding of local food production
The Board will support the development of community gardens in Vancouver through the following means:
- Providing access to information on the development and operation of community gardens.
- Assisting interested groups in searching for suitable land for the development of community gardens. This inventory must include City-owned land, land controlled by other government agencies, and privately owned land.
- Assisting in the development of user agreements with the owners of sites chosen.
- Assisting with the development of a community led environmental education program.
If it is determined that park land is the most suitable site for community gardens, the following conditions will apply:
- The garden is developed at no cost to the Board, except that prior to the first season, the Board will, at its cost, prepare the site for planting by removing grass, ploughing the soil and adding compost.
- A community consultation process indicates neighbourhood support for the garden.
- A garden site plan must be drawn up and approved by the General Manager. The plan must include the layout of the plots and indicate any proposed structures or fences.
- A non-profit society agrees to develop and operate the gardens according to a users agreement which will specify the term of use, management responsibilities, user fees and access procedures including the following specific terms:
1. "The standard term of the user agreement will be five years. The Board may consider the granting of multiple terms in exceptional circumstances. The issuance of such longer terms is warranted in circumstances where the Society can demonstrate that the standard five year term would significantly restrict the Society's ability to:
1) comply with Park Board policies and direction
2) conduct community outreach programming beyond the Societies members
3) implement a long term plan
4) execute significant approved site improvements
5) such other circumstances that the Board deems relevant
6) For terms longer than five years, a review and formal reporting to the Board will be required at each 5 year period and the agreement will incorporate a strengthened termination clause to allow both the Society and the Park Board the option to terminate the agreement with adequate notice."
2. Allotments of space must be made from a waiting list on a first come first served basis.
3. While community gardens are a neighbourhood initiative, membership in the Society, and the opportunity to be allotted a plot, must be open to any resident of Vancouver.
4. Organic gardening methods and integrated pest management principles are to be followed.
5. Allotment fees charged by the society must be reported to the General Manager.
6. The Society must adhere to maintenance standards set by the Board.
7. No barriers to general public access to the site can be erected.
8. Garden practices shall comply with all Park Board and City Policies and Bylaws.
Although located on Parks with the prior approval of the Park Board, Community Gardens are operated by volunteers from the community.