Friday, May 18, 2012
GCGC: No Trespassing Signs Deter More Than Unwelcome Guests
Third, there was a discussion about the website which some volunteers at Otterbein College are putting together for GCGC. Volunteers are needed to help develop content for the new GCGC web page.
Then, it was announced that Roger was stepping down from the steering committee after two years. Anyone interested in joining the steering committee should contact Peggy.
Next, Roger made a presentation about liability issues facing community gardens. He had help from retired attorney, Louise Annarino. Very few of us (if any) had posted no-trespassing signs at our gardens because we think they are ugly, unwelcoming, and would deter neighbors and potential volunteers from approaching gardeners. However, a few good points were made about the benefits of a no-trespassing sign. First, the police are unlikely to do anything about trespassers or loiterers without a sign. Second, if a trespasser gets hurt on garden property without a sign, it is more likely that the garden could be held liable than if a sign had been posted. Generally, a landowner owes no duty of care to a trespasser, but you have to show the person is an unlawful trespasser. (This is difficult to do without a sign or locked fence/gate). A duty of warning of latent dangers is owed to individuals, like guests, who are invited onto the property. A much higher duty of care is owed to individuals with a business relationship with you.
Roger then led a discussion about what kinds of rules gardens should adopt and how those rules should be adopted. He felt that the neighbors should have input into the rules. He also raised a good point about the need to keep MSDS (i.e., Material Safety Data Sheets) at the garden which contains information on all of the chemicals and agents used at the garden (including organic products like blood and bone meal). Someone could get something in their eye or mistakenly ingest or breathe something and require emergency medical assistance. Having a binder onsite with information about the contents and dangers of all such chemical and other agents would be important to have in a crises. He also raised a concern with using blood and bone meal from cows which could have “mad cow disease.”
at 9:54 AM