Thursday, February 12, 2009

Welcome to the NEW Stoddart Avenue Community Garden

The City of Columbus is leasing a vacant lot at 445-51 Stoddart Avenue to be used as a community garden. (This is less than 1 mile directly west of Christ Lutheran Church, about three blocks west of Nelson Road and ½ block north of East Main Street).

Depending upon the number of gardeners, the Garden will be divided into between 20 and 24 plots of between 200 and 250 square feet. Each gardener (or gardening group) will be assigned one or two plots to garden as they see fit (as long as the gardeners comply with the Garden Rules of Conduct). Individuals, families, clubs and other groups are allowed to participate.

There is no charge to participate in the Garden. However, donations will be cheerfully accepted to defray any expenses incurred by the Garden Manager (like soil tests and insurance).

Gardeners are responsible for providing their own tools, seeds, water, fertilizer, compost, and pest controls (including insecticides, scarecrows and fencing). Wire and mesh fencing is permitted to deter rabbits, dogs, varmits and other trespassers as long as it is easily removable at the end of the season and is no more than 40 inches high.

The Garden will be made available to gardeners sometime in April. The Garden must first be tilled and staked out. Each plot will be marked by stakes and twine. Gardeners must only garden inside their own plot. There will also be paths to provide access to each plot. Gardeners interested in helping clean up and stake the plots and to spread compost in April should contact the Garden Manager.

Gardeners must remove themselves and all of their property from the Garden no later than October 31, 2009.

No promises are being made about the quality of the soil or safety of the Garden. It has been zoned residential and there was a building of some sort there in the past. While I do not believe that it has ever been a toxic waste dump or cemetery, I am making no promises of any kind. Each gardener should review the Columbus Police website regarding crime statistics in the neighborhood and take their own precautions. Columbus Police Department records show that there were five reports of shots fired within a block of the garden site in 2008.

We are also soliciting donations of compost and manure. We are attempting to obtain some financial grants to pay for seeds, other supplies, and rain barrels to place at the Garden for the benefit of the gardeners. However, gardeners may need to bring jugs of water from home after the rainy season.

We are encouraging all gardeners to donate a portion of their produce to the Lutheran Social Services Food Pantry on Champion Avenue (or other food pantry, like the Mid-Ohio Food Bank). Arrangements may be made to pick up and deliver donated produce twice a month beginning in June.

All gardeners are required to comply with the Garden Rules of Conduct and to sign and return a Garden Agreement and Release. Interested Gardeners should contact the Garden Manager by email to receive a copy of the Garden Agreement and Release.

Additional information is available from the Garden Manager and at this website.

The terms of the Garden Agreement are as follows:

The Stoddart Avenue Community Garden Agreement and Release

I, _______________________, am a voluntary participant in the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden (the “Garden”). As an express condition to being allowed to participate in the Garden, I agree to the following:

1. I am responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of my assigned garden plot. Planting, watering, weeding, fertilizing, and harvesting and all other garden-related maintenance is my sole responsibility. I am also responsible for providing my own tools, seeds and water. If at any time, I unable to harvest my produce (because of vacation or illness, etc.), I will notify the Garden Manager so that other arrangements can be made to harvest the ripe produce and donate it to a food pantry.

2. Youth participation is encouraged with adult guidance. Children are welcome in the garden, but must be accompanied by an adult and must be supervised at all times. I am also responsible for my guests.

3. I have been given a copy of the Garden Rules of Conduct and agree that I and my guests will comply with those Rules and guidelines. I forfeit my assigned plot if I do not adhere to those Rules.

4. I am fully aware of the risks and hazards associated with participating in the Garden and assume responsibility for all such risks and hazards, including any loss, cost or damage that may result from any accident, injury, illness or death to me or another person. I also assume responsibility for any damage to or loss of any property owned by me or another person. I understand that no special precautions of any kind have been made to remove obvious, environmental or other hazards from the Garden property, including but not limited to, uneven surfaces, pollution, vandalism, theft, and sharp objects. If I have had any questions about the Garden, its nature, risks or hazards, I have contacted the Garden Manager and discussed those questions with her to my satisfaction before signing this Agreement.

5. I have reviewed crime map statistics prepared by the City of Columbus for the neighborhood surrounding the Garden at, but understand that past events do not guarantee that no crime will affect me or anyone else while at the Garden. I am responsible for taking any necessary precautions for the safety of myself, my family and my guests while at the Garden.

6. My participation is entirely voluntary and will involve a moderate degree of physical activity. To my knowledge, I am not affected by any physical condition that would preclude me from safely performing in any aspect of the Garden activities.

7. On behalf of myself, my executors, administrators, spouse, children, agents, heirs and assigns, I hereby fully and finally release and forever discharge Priscilla Hapner, her assigns, and all other Garden volunteers and gardeners from any and all claims, suits, demands, and actions whatsoever, including but not limited to, those based on negligence, in any manner arising out of or resulting from my participation in the Garden. I understand that this release means that, among other things, I am giving up my right to sue for any accident, injury, illness, or death to me, another person, or member of my family and for any damage to or loss of property owned by me or another person arising out of or resulting from my participation in or visit to the Garden.

8. I agree that I will indemnify, hold harmless and fully reimburse Priscilla Hapner and her assigns for any and all losses, damages, claims, suits, demands, attorneys fees and actions whatsoever, that result from, or occur in connection with, a visit to, participation in or use of the Garden by me, members of my family or any of my guests, including but not limited to, those claims based on negligence by me, members of my family or any of my guests.

9. I will remove all items from my assigned plot by October 31, 2009 and will crush any remaining plants to no more than 2 feet high before I abandon my plot for the winter. Any items left in my plot on October 31 may be kept as the personal property of the Garden Manager or disposed of as she sees fit.

10. I am at least 18 years old, have carefully read this entire Agreement and fully understand its terms. I am aware that this is a release of liability and indemnification agreement and I voluntarily sign it of my own free will.

Signed: ____________________________________ Printed name: __________________ Date: __________

Address: __________________________________________________ Email address: _____________________

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