Community Garden Rental Agreement 2024


Welcome to Groundswell’s permaculture community gardens. The opportunity to rent a community garden bed is open to all members, based on bed availability. There are two community garden sites – the Greenhouse site and Mt. Nelson site. As a renter of a garden bed at either of Groundswell’s community gardens, you are required to sign and abide by this agreement and pay a yearly rental fee as determined annually by the Board of Directors.

Groundswell will Supply
Garden bed with soil, composting system, water supply, advice and guidance upon request, a secure fenced location, and if everyone keeps the gate closed – a deer-free location.

Each Renter/Gardener will Supply
Seeds and/or seedlings, love, maintenance, harvest and cleaning up after harvest. The tools you bring to the site are your own responsibility.

Soil Amendments and Mulching
Soil amendments and mulching are generally the responsibility of bed renters. Use cured products only – no fresh manure is allowed.

Groundswell follows Permaculture gardening methods. Workshops and tours are made available for you through the Groundswell website or if you would like to learn more.

Experienced gardeners are gardening all around you so “just ask” if you have questions.

Gardener Participation
It is expected that each bed renter will participate in the following:

  • Orientation: Each gardener is required to attend an orientation session where bed renters can meet, plans for the growing season will be illustrated, and expectations will be shared. You will receive an email invitation in early spring. Please contact the Community Gardens Coordinator to arrange a meeting time if you have not been notified.
  • Volunteer Requirements: As well, each renter is required to volunteer a minimum of 2 hours per month outside of their personal gardening time to help maintain the community gardens. This may include tidying up the area around the beds, filling and cleaning of water barrels, trimming weeds and mowing grass around beds, chopping compost materials and mixing compost piles/bins, assisting with watering for someone who is away, or helping weed in flower or herb beds that are common to all.
    • A list of tasks that need to be completed will be posted on the door of the shed in each garden; check this list regularly to see what still needs to be done.
    • Volunteer time should be logged on the Volunteer Hours Log posted on the door of the garden shed at each garden site.
    • If there are tasks that you’d like to see added to the list, contact the Community Gardens Coordinator.
  • Spring Clean-up: The first volunteering opportunity is spring cleaning the common area in the community garden you are in and helping with composting and preparing the garden for the season. This is a group effort, fun and semi-social. The date of the Spring Clean-up will be provided by the Community Gardens Coordinator in early spring by email.
  • Fall Clean-up: In the fall you are responsible to put your bed to sleep for the winter using permaculture methods. Water deeply, amend the soil, then cover the soil with burlap sacks, straw or cardboard and secure with rocks or bricks.

The Community Gardens Coordinator will generally be the first line of communications for the gardeners. The Coordinator works closely with Groundswell staff and the Board to make sure that information, notifications, and invitations are provided to gardeners. Your questions and concerns can be sent to the Coordinator.

General communications regarding the community gardens will be done primarily via email. It is the gardener’s responsibility to ensure that the Community Garden Coordinator has your current active email address. If you do not use email, please let the Coordinator know and an alternate means of communication can be determined.

Community Gardens Coordinator:

Watch Groundswell’s Facebook page for notices and events.

Conflict Resolution: From time to time small conflicts may arise. Whenever possible, problems, concerns, and questions should be taken to the Community Gardens Coordinator or Groundswell staff to support the resolution of the issue. This will help keep the space a comfortable and enjoyable place to spend time together.

Weeds and Composters
There are bins on site for composting garden waste and weeds. Each gardener is responsible for the weeds in and around their beds. It is recommended that you dig up the weeds when they first present themselves before they go to seed, and take them to the compost bins provided. They must be cut up into small pieces before they go in the compost. Follow the compost guidelines you will be given at the orientation. You may bring your kitchen compost to the garden for repurposing if you don’t have another site to take it to. Check with the Community Gardens Coordinator if you are unsure what to do.

Water Barrels
There are large plastic garbage cans throughout the gardens being used as water barrels. These are to be kept filled with water; the purpose is twofold:
1. To provide you with water in which the chlorine has had a chance to dissipate making it gentler on your plants if you chose to use a watering can.
2. To have a water source available in an emergency if the District of Invermere shuts the water off for any reason.

You are responsible for refilling the water barrels right away if you use water from them. Refill the barrels from the hoses/taps provided in the garden. A couple of times a summer the barrels need to be empty and scrubbed clean to reduce mold and bacteria growing in them. Cleaning the barrels is on the Task list posted in the sheds.

If you encounter any on-site water supply issues, notify the Coordinator immediately so they can investigate, contact the District and/or make alternate supply arrangements if necessary.

Pesticides and Herbicides
The gardens are a pesticide-free zone; no chemical herbicides or insecticides are permitted. Absolutely no use of biocides – organic gardening only, please.

We expect our gardeners to deal with pest infestations mechanically and/or preventatively (i.e., physically remove eggs and pests, and avoid planting susceptible crops). Keeping your plants strong through good gardening practices is the best way to prevent insect problems.

Garden Security
Both gardens are secured with padlocks when not in use. If you are the last one in the garden, please lock up when you leave. Once you have signed this agreement and paid your annual fee, you will be given the combination to the padlock.

Please make sure the gate is closed at all times. This is extremely important, as there are four-legged creatures that will happily eat everything in the garden in a matter of moments.

Pets: Please ensure pets are on a leash at all times. If your pet is a leg-up kind of pet, please leash it outside the garden in sight of you so it is not urinating in the garden. Make the garden fair for everyone.

Things to keep in mind:
Your rental bed is your bed for the whole summer and you can grow anything you want in it, except illegal and questionable substances (we are on School District property).

Garden Decor: To make things fair for everyone, you are not allowed to bring in decorations, containers, etc. without prior approval. Please share ideas to improve the garden with the Coordinator; they will go forward for discussion and Board approval and can be implemented from there. Trellises are permitted as long as they do not shade or encroach on other garden beds. Note: Both gardens presently contain approved bird houses, bee houses, and water for the birds.

On-Site Storage: Gardeners are not permitted to store gardening materials around or under the raised beds; this includes pots, tools, cages, bags, etc. The areas around the beds must be kept clear for access and so that weeds can be removed and grass can be mowed without issues.

Unattended Garden Beds: If garden beds remain unattended or are in non-compliance of this agreement, a notice will be given to the gardener. If not addressed in a timely manner, the gardener may lose privileges and the bed may be given to another gardener to tend.

Mutual Respect: It is expected that you will treat the garden sites and your fellow gardeners with respect. Do not remove any produce or items from other’s beds without their permission. Any damage done to the gardens will be your responsibility to repair.

Common Areas
Perennial beds – both gardens have perennial flower beds to attract pollinators. You are expected to help care for the perennial beds as part of your volunteer commitment.

Herb beds – both gardens have herb beds and, within reason, you can help yourself to fresh herbs from them. You are expected to help care for the herb beds as part of your volunteer commitment.

Greenhouse Garden – Special Items
There is a pond on site. Supervision of children or any members of your group is fully your responsibility and must be ensured by you. Groundswell accepts no responsibility for this supervision and will not be held liable.

Mt. Nelson – Special Items
The Mt. Nelson garden is the home of the Student Gardener Food Sustainability program. Every year a few garden beds are assigned to the students. They are responsible for maintaining those beds and assisting with care of common areas. They also have reserved space in the cupboard directly to the left in the shed for some of their gardening materials.

The Mt. Nelson shed is locked and the padlock key is available for you to borrow tools, weed wacker, etc. to care for the garden (exception – the school materials and tools). Please always clean and return tools to their designated place. Please always return the key to its designated place.

We really appreciate your involvement and investment in productive and fun community gardening. We ask that you keep your plot well maintained and looking great. This not only makes for better production, it inspires and teaches others what good garden practice is all about.

Enjoy, Share, Ask and Eat!

I agree to abide by the rules set out in the Community Garden Rental Relationship Agreement.

Community Garden rental agreement form