4 Ideas for Your First Garden Sharing Conversation

Finally, you’ve met your land or garden share match on Alfrea. Whether you’re a landowner or tenant, it’s an exciting time, the beginning of a new and promising relationship. Here are four suggestions for that first meeting.

1. START SLOW, BUILD A RELATIONSHIP.

A garden share is a friendship, so it should start with small talk and grow deeper over time. When you first meet, say hello and try to find some common ground. Do you share interests other than gardening or raising animals? Do you move in any of the same social circles? Aim to be fully present and listen – experts say that giving someone your full attention makes communication richer [1]. Start off on the right foot.

2. TOUR THE PROPERTY

Take a casual walk around the land you’ll be sharing. If you’re the tenant, you can ask questions about the history of the property, the soil, and structures for keeping animals. If you’re the landowner, you can ask about the tenant’s reason for choosing this plot of land – what appealed to him or her? Discuss your mutual hopes for the project.

3. SKETCH OUT A FORMAL PLAN FOR THE SPACE

There are many issues to settle before you embark on a land sharing arrangement. First, specify what land will be shared, what kind of compensation will be involved, who can access the property, and when. Lay out what the garden will look like and decide whether the tenant can build raised beds or other structures, like a greenhouse or a chicken coop. Decide what can be grown, and agree it should be organic. Tools, storage, water, bathrooms, waste, compost, and parking are other issues you will want to consider. Decide how long the garden sharing relationship will last. And most importantly: Who gets to eat the food?

4. SIGN ON THE DOTTED LINE

Write up your own agreement or, if you’re going to use the land for a garden, consider using this one from the Sustainable Economies Law Centre [2]. The SELC agreement covers some additional legal issues like risk, liability, and damage to property – if you’re writing your own agreement, consider adding these items into it.

You’re finished! With the first conversation and the paperwork out of the way, you can get started with your garden or livestock project. Do you have additional ideas about what landowners and tenants should talk about during their first conversation? Please share your suggestions in the comments!

 

REFERENCES

[1] http://www.fastcompany.com/3031530/hit-the-ground-running/6-steps-to-turn-strangers-into-connections
[2] http://www.urbanaglaw.org/LandingThumbnails/2013/05/SELC-Sample-Agreement-for-urban-ag.pdf

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