Howard Area Community Garden
Leadership Team Meeting, February 27, 2016
Leadership Team members attending: Katje Sabin (coordinator), Kit Rosenberg, Chester Kos, and Kathryn Wong
• Garden Opening Day will be on Saturday, April 17, 2016. We need a solid count of returning gardeners before that date, so the coordinator will reach out to each gardener. Opening Day events will include distribution of soil amendments, seeds, snacks, payment of the annual fee, handouts with the workday/workshop calendar, and other surprises.
• Garden Coordinator Out of Town from April 23-May 1. Volunteers will make sure the email, phone, and mail are covered.
• Income and expenses
Account balance as of 2/27/2016: $1839.08
All but two gardeners paid their 2015 plot fees.
We are moving to a voluntary, honor-system sliding scale fee schedule. The basic plot fee will remain at $15/year, but those with higher incomes will be asked to consider contributing more if they can. (More info below…)
The Leadership Team unanimously approved the following 2016 staff stipends:
• $300 and garden fee waiver for the Garden Coordinator position (to Katje Sabin)
• $300 for maintenance (to John Carter, who takes care of weekly trash removal, minor repairs, and security)
Once we have a year of sliding-scale payments, we will have a good idea of how much our annual income will be, and we can decide whether continuing to pay for both the maintenance and the coordinator positions are feasible.
• Sponsorship: As of 12/15, the HACG and the HACC have forged a new partnership! Kathryn Wong is our HACC liaison, and will be serving on the LT. Thank you, Kathryn! We are now up to date with our Neighbor Space sponsor requirement, and will finish all the appropriate paperwork to bring our agreement with Neighbor Space up to date. We will need gardener signatures for this document, and will collect them at Opening Day.
• Bees: Our bees survived the winter and our beekeepers report that they are looking great for the 2016 season. Sadly, we are losing Rosemary Limoncello, our main beekeeper, but we have several other volunteers ready to step into the position, and they have already offered to lead another bee-related workshop this year. Leadership Team member Kit Rosenberg has volunteered to move into the plot with the bees, and work with the beekeepers to create a bee-friendly demo garden that can be used for public education and workshops.
Repairs/Improvements, in order of priority:
• New storage shed: Gardener Derek Schumaker kindly donated a new Rubbermaid storage shed to the garden, but weather prevented us from installing it last year. We need to lay a cement pad before erecting it; Kit Rosenberg will organize this. Also, many thanks to John Beckman for providing safe storage space for our tools and hose this winter!
• Soil amendments: We had a delivery of six cubic yards of leaf mulch (donated by Derek Schumacher) and eight yards of tree mulch delivered to the garden last fall. We will have an additional four cubic yards of loamy "veggie mix" soil delivered to the garden in mid-March (in big fabric tote bags), as well as sand, which will be distributed during Opening Day. We are planning to continue this spring/fall schedule of soil amendment.
• Deck: We need to replace our crumbling, rat-infested deck. Coincidentally, both the gardeners in the space where the new deck might live (under the shaded tree area along Hermitage) have vacated their plots this year... talk about serendipity! Volunteers are needed for this project.
• Residency requirement: New members must live in the North of Howard area. (Chicago to the lake, Howard to Juneway). This rule does NOT apply to gardeners who are already members of the garden!
• Sliding scale: The basic plot fee will remain at $15. If a member's annual household income is $15,000-$30,000, the suggested plot fee is $25. If annual income is $30,000-$50,000, the suggested plot fee is $45. If annual income is over $50,000, we ask for at least $45 and an additional donation as you are able and willing. Additional donations are tax-deductible and you will receive an acknowledgement letter for your taxes.
• Workday requirement: Each gardener (or a representative) must attend at least two of the five workdays during the growing season, with arrangements available for people who cannot attend due to work or illness. If the gardener cannot attend ANY workshops, there will be other ways for them to fulfill their service to the garden (volunteer for the Leadership Team, work on other events, help with special construction or maintenance projects, etc.).
2016 season prep:
Katje was invited to a garden blogger/writer luncheon at the Chicago Botanic Garden, and networked with other garden coordinators to find ways to cooperatively help our gardens. She also got lots of information on growing tomatoes and hay bale gardening, and she'll write that up as a separate blog post later.
She has also solicited seed, tool, and snack donations for the opening day festivities. We already have hundreds of donated seed packets, mostly from Neighbor Space and Territorial Seed Company.
She has created a database of a dozen volunteers, the Friends of the Garden, who don't want to be active gardeners, but do want to be part of our garden (three of them showed up to help clear ice on New Years Eve!).
Leadership Team member Chester Kos and Katje attended "Tool Up," a free program offered to Neighbor Space gardens in February of 2016. The event concluded with a good overview of conflict resolution techniques.
Leadership Team member Heidi Levin will attend the Chicago Community Garden Association annual conference on March 5 as a representative of our garden. Thank you, Heidi!
• Plant sale fundraiser: We are working with a local school to start a batch of seedlings of various popular vegetables. Another gardener, Anastassiya Suslik, has volunteered to grow flower starts. At the May workday, we will hold our first plant sale! We can also sell snacks and water. Any volunteers for this?
• Workshops: Our beekeepers have already volunteered to do another beekeeping workshop. Any requests/ideas for other workshops during the year?
We had a request that we alternate our workdays between Saturdays and Sundays. So the current tentative schedule is as follows:
Opening Day: Sunday, April 17
May Workday: Saturday, May 14 (Plant Sale!)
June Workday: Sunday, June 19
July Workday: Saturday, July 16
August Workday: Sunday, August 21
September Workday: Saturday, September 17
Closing Day: Sunday, October 16
• Edible Parkway Project: Katje and Kathryn and the HACC Youth Group will plan and plant the parkway boxes. This year, we will build retainers for the mulch, a new triangular planter box at the northeast corner (by the alley), and create permanent signage to encourage passerby to sample and harvest from the boxes. We are also building a Little Free Library. We have a $263 donation earmarked for this project, as well as a $100 Gethsemane gift certificate.
Regarding the parkway along the western (Hermitage) edge of the garden: Chester Kos cared for the lawn for all of the 2015 season, and has agreed to continue to provide care for the 2016 season as well... thank you, Chester!