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In May of 2016, a new Community Garden Program was crafted aimed to balance the interest of the garden advocates, community residents and policymakers. State regulations and community garden programs in several Florida cities were examined, as well as exemplary models in other states. Organizers of the local community gardens were provided copies of the text and their comments and concerns were incorporated into the draft document. The program concept, the forms and reports, and the guidelines for design, operations and maintenance were vetted by:
  • The Green Implementation Advancement Board at their July 21, 2016 meeting.
  • The Pineapple Grove Main Street (PGMS) committee at their June 29, 2016 meeting.
  • The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) at their July 11, 2016 meeting. 
  • The Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) at their July 14, 2016 meeting.
  • The West Atlantic Redevelopment Coalition (WARC)  at their September 1, 2016 meeting.
  • Planning and Zoning Board recommended approval on January 23, 2017.
The Community Garden Policy was adopted by Resolution 40-17 on May 16, 2017.  Additionally, the Office of Sustainability has developed a Community Garden Guidelines, which describe in greater detail the standards of design, maintence and operation expected of any community garden organization.

 Community Garden Guidelines

The Community Garden Guidelines first address the purpose of Community Gardens and difference between Community Gardens and Urban Farms. It states that Gardens are intended “to encourage gardening for recreation, education and wellbeing, and to supplement food needs, which is distinctly different from the economic activity of an urban farm.   A community garden is not a commercial operation, thus gardens are not permitted to grow produce, plants and flowers, or create compost primarily to profit from their sale.”

The guidelines then address following topics:

  • Location
  • Days and hours of operation
  • Administrative oversight – (utility billing, contact information, educational events)
  • Allowable activities (composting, bees, sales, events etc.)
  • Allowable structures and contents (shed, displays, fences, seating, flammable liquids)
  • Required and allowable signs, furnishing, art
  • Preferred irrigation, fertilizer, pesticides methods
  • Acceptable levels of maintenance/aesthetic – ( garbage collection, abandonment, enforcement)

 In an effort to simplify establishment and tracking of a Community Gardens,  Program only requires:

 1)     Submitting an initial Application Package that is reviewed and approved by the City’s Green Implementation Advisory Board (GIAB), and;

2)     Submitting an annual Activity Report, which is also reviewed and approved by GIAB, allowing the garden to maintain operation in good standing.  

 The initial Application Package consists of:

  • A short form that documents the garden’s location and leadership,
  • A document indicating an agreement between the garden organizers and property owner,
  • An affidavit acknowledging review of Delray Beach’s Community Garden Program guidelines, 
  • A written Garden Management Plan (GMP) created by the garden’s members that describes all operations and rules governing that specific garden, including its membership rules and fees, garden design, rules of operations, and responsibilities for maintenance.  Each GMP will be unique, but all must reflect the guidelines established in Delray’s Community Garden Program. 

By clarifying public expectations around community garden activities and documenting the garden management’s approach, the City hopes to avoid adverse environmental impacts or incompatible land uses. It is believed that proper planning, and self-regulation with City oversight will be sufficient to allow the gardens to operate outside of the formalized Local Development Regulations. The requirement to submit an annual Activities Report allows the City to receive updated contact information, track and promote the garden’s successes, and provide assistance if necessary. Equally important however, it allows GIAB to withhold approval to continue operating if the garden fails to comply with their GMP, or the community has noted numerous complaints about the garden’s operation.

 

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