Professional Resources

Starting a community garden is like establishing a business. The recommendations below will help you build the foundation for a structurally-sound, viable community garden. 

Ensuring a Sustainable Operation
Don’t rely solely on the garden coordinator to manage important information about the garden. Be sure that at least 3 people know the logistics of the community garden and where information is located. This may include contact information and details about: bank accounts, landowner contact and lease agreements, liability insurance renewal, water systems, waste disposal systems, organizations associated with the gardens, and garden members.

Liability Insurance
Liability insurance is often necessary to obtain leases from landowners. Consider offering the landowner a lease with a “hold harmless” waiver. Be sure to include insurance in your garden budget.

Land / Site Selection

  • Developing Bylaws/Garden Rules
  • Maintain safety of all members
  • Protect the property
  • Prevent disputes
  • Provide fair method for resolving disputes
  • Prevent disturbances to neighbors
  • ​Address: access to the garden, guidelines for garden plots, ​member responsibilities, communication, general conduct, problem prevention and resolution
  • Also develop vision, goals, and mission statement ​

Becoming Non-Profit
By starting a non-profit you are essentially starting a small business – setting up financial systems, payroll, opening a bank account, hiring staff, buying insurance, establishing information technology systems (voicemail, fax, email, website). Register with the NYS Attorney General’s Charities Bureau: 


ChangeLab Solutions: Community Garden Toolkit
Gardening Matters: Community Garden Start-up Guide