Putney Community Garden Guidelines
The Putney Community Garden is dedicated to operating a community garden for the people who live or work in the greater Putney area. The PCG supports the growing of ornamental, edible, and medicinal plants and provides a space to garden, build community, and improve the quality of life in the Putney area.
Membership is available to those who agree to uphold the PCG Guidelines, Membership Agreement, and Practices and Procedures.
PCG membership runs from March 1st through the last day in February. New members may join at any time during the year if a plot is available. Returning and new members must sign the PCG Membership Agreement and submit full payment for each plot before beginning to garden.
Maintenance and organizational issues of the Garden are administered by the Garden Stewards, a group of four to seven elected Garden Members.
The Stewardship consists of four to seven members of the PCG, elected at the Annual Membership Meeting. Stewards are encouraged to serve no more than two years in a row.
Garden Stewards Responsibilities
- Be the point of contact for members, and perform other tasks that may be necessary for the smooth day-to-day maintenance and operation of the garden area.
- Be responsible for developing and implementing the PCG Guidelines, Membership Agreement, and Garden Practices, Procedures, and Policies.
- Convene and facilitate meetings, set agendas, and communicate with all Garden Members.
- Serve as the liaison with the property owners.
- Distribute meeting announcements and agendas, keep a record of meeting minutes and distribute them to all members within ten days after each meeting.
- Organize election ballots and coordinate with election officials.
- Be responsible for the collection, safekeeping, and distribution of all monies of the PCG.
- Maintain all financial accounts and records, and make available regular financial reports to the full membership.
- Approve any expenses over $100.
- Forward any grievances that cannot be otherwise resolved to the Appeals Group.
- Distribute proposed changes to existing policies, guidelines, or the Annual Membership Agreement to all PCG members a minimum of three weeks before any scheduled vote.
- Call an annual membership meeting in January to elect Garden Stewards and conduct any necessary garden business.
The Garden Stewards meet a minimum of four times per calendar year: once pre-season, once mid-season, once post-season, and at the Annual Membership Meeting. The Stewards may hold additional meetings as needed, or in an executive session. The date, time, location, and agenda of all Garden meetings will be announced with a minimum of one week’s notice, with the exception of the Annual Meeting which is to be announced four weeks in advance. The Garden meetings are open to all members of the PCG, and any PCG member may vote either in person or by proxy at those meetings.
Nominations and Elections
Nominations: Garden Members may nominate themselves or any member of the PCG for a position as a Garden Steward. Members seeking election are encouraged to specify what their primary role or contribution would be (i.e., “Secretary”, “Coordinator”, “Treasurer”). Nominations should be made known to the current Stewards at least four weeks prior to the Annual Membership Meeting.
Stewards are elected at the Annual Membership Meeting. A vacated position may be filled by special election any time during the year. Stewards shall appoint two election officials to oversee elections. Election officials may not be on the ballot in the current election. Election officials are responsible for receiving proxy ballots, counting ballots at the Annual Membership Meeting, and announcing election results.
Each Garden Member may vote for up to seven Steward positions, and vote on any proposal. Members may vote in person, online, or by proxy. Official decisions of the garden membership are made by a majority of those voting, with the exception of changes to the Guidelines, which requires approval by a majority of the entire Garden Membership.
Conflict Resolution/Grievance Policy
The Grievance Policy provides a fair and consistent method in which to resolve conflicts and/or request an appeal of a decision made by the Garden Stewards. The system is a tiered process which, if need be, culminates in a peer review (Grievance Group) and results in a final decision. The Grievance Group is composed of three Garden Members who are appointed yearly by the Stewards, before the beginning of the new garden season (March 1st). Members on the Grievance Group serve on an as-needed basis, receiving work hours for their service. Members of the Grievance Group operate under confidentiality and with respect for all those concerned. If the appeal or conflict concerns one of the Grievance Group members, an alternate member will be appointed to the Group by the Stewards for the specific grievance.
If you are interested in serving with the Grievance Group, or as an alternate, please contact one of the Garden Stewards.
Grievance Procedures and Appeal
- All parties are encouraged to resolve differences through open conversation, assuming best intentions of all those concerned.
- If no viable solution can be agreed upon, or there is no clear policy relating to a specific issue or concern, the Garden Member may grieve the issue to the Garden Stewards.
- Grievances will be kept confidential whenever possible.
- Stewards will review the appeal or grievance. If they are unable to resolve the issue to the satisfaction of everyone involved, the issue will be presented to the Grievance Group.
- The Grievance Group will make a final determination within a reasonable timeframe.
As stated in the PCG Guidelines, the Stewards hold open meetings throughout the year to conduct Garden business and ensure the Garden’s smooth operation. Each year in January an Annual Meeting is held to elect Garden Steward members, review the Guidelines, Garden Policies, Practices and Procedures, and the Annual Agreement.
Closed meetings, otherwise referred to as Executive Sessions, are permitted under the PCG Guidelines and are convened to ensure
frank and confidential discourse regarding garden issues or concerns. Garden Stewards encourage the active participation of each Member in the garden as well as in meetings, and will make every effort to keep all meetings open and transparent to the garden membership. There are exceptions to this general practice, including but not limited to:
- Garden Steward issues among its elected members (Conflicts between two Stewards, or serious criticism of a Steward by another), or investigation into concerns about any Garden Steward.
- Personal and private issues of any Garden Member which may impact the Member’s ability to uphold the Annual Agreement.
- Any formal grievance that is brought to the Garden Stewards (please see Conflict Resolution).
- Stewards meetings designed to build GS cohesiveness; refine GS processes; and assess overall effectiveness as a working team.
The Garden Stewards will make every effort to use the privilege of an Executive Session judiciously and wisely. To go into executive session a Steward must make a motion, needs a second and is debatable. It takes a majority vote to adopt. If the Stewards vote to go into Executive session, all other Garden Members must leave the room until the Stewards vote to end Executive Session, unless the session is to be held at another time.