2021 Membership Agreement

Privileges, Rules and Requirements of Membership, Common Agreements
and Important Dates for the 2021 Season

By submitting the membership agreement linked to this page, I certify that I have read, understand, and support the mission and goals of Hansberry Garden and Nature Center, Inc. (HGNC). I agree to abide by the following rules and conditions, and I also agree to abide by any further rules established by the HGNC Board of Directors. Membership terms have changed, so we ask that both new and returning members read carefully.

Important Dates for 2021

PDF icon Download printable version of Membership Agreement (PDF)

  • Membership Renewal opens March 9.
  • Membership Renewal deadline to keep your bed from 2020: March 17. Returning members will pay the $40 membership fee or request scholarship assistance and submit membership agreements by March 17 in order to maintain use of the same bed from the previous year. This a few days before the Spring Gathering, a required meeting for all members, held Saturday, March 20 from 10 a.m. to noon. This year we will meet by ZOOM.
  • If membership has not been renewed by March 17, availability of a planting bed and use of the same bed is not guaranteed. Beds will be reassigned beginning Thursday, March 18.
  • Returning members will notify the membership chair by March 17, if they do not plan to participate as planting members for the upcoming planting season and will return the garden and shed keys to the membership chair.
  • Planting Beds must be planted by June 15, or the member household forfeits its bed to someone on the waitlist. (Membership fee minus $15 administrative fee can be returned, if membership is forfeited, or member can stay on as a supporting member. Key fee is not returnable. Please ask for assistance if you have trouble getting started. We have mentors to help.)
  • Summer crops must be cleared from beds by Nov. 1, after which remaining crops are donated through City Harvest, unless members request an extension for specific plants that are still producing, and/or for overwintering and cover crops.

New Members

  • New members agree to attend one of three scheduled orientation sessions at the Garden on
    • Saturday, March 20, 2-3 p.m.
    • Sunday, March 21, 3-4 p.m.; or
    • Thursday, March 25, 6-7 p.m. 

HGNC Shared Commitments

Signing an agreement for a planting bed or for a supporting membership to Hansberry Garden and Nature Center is an agreement to the following shared commitments:

  • We agree to share Hansberry Garden’s approach to protecting our environment through the use of nontoxic solutions to soil-health and horticulture problems. Synthetic chemicals (for example, pesticides, herbicides, and nonorganic fertilizers) are prohibited. We agree to contact a board member for approval before using any nonorganic method or substance anywhere in the garden.
  • We understand that HGNC is a welcoming and fully inclusive organization that strives to maintain an environment of amity and mutual respect. Therefore, insulting, rude, or otherwise inappropriate conduct that the board determines to be consistently disruptive to our community may result in loss of membership and its attendant privileges.
  • We agree to respect our fellow garden members and visitors with our actions and in our communications.
  • We understand that HGNC operates on an honor system; membership in this garden is a position of trust. Accordingly, theft of any kind from members or of HGNC property will result in the immediate loss of membership and all attendant privileges, loss of right to harvest, and/or possible legal action.
  • As a community, we welcome children and always encourage them to come to the garden to play or plant. In the interest of safety, children must be accompanied and supervised by at least one adult, age 18 or older, for the duration of their visit.
  • We understand that Hansberry Garden is an all-volunteer organization, requiring the participation of all members to succeed.
    • HGNC is governed by a governing board with elected officers. Any member may attend a board meeting and are encouraged to do so. Board meetings will appear on HGNC’s online calendar.
    • A minimum of 10 volunteer hours are required of each planting-bed household per year to remain in good standing and therefore able to keep the same planting bed for the following year. (See “Membership Requirements” below.) HGNC tracks volunteer hours of members to help us better share the work of the garden with each other and to support grant proposals for funding. Keeping track of additional hours beyond the minimum number required helps with our attempts to secure grant funding.
    • Members are also encouraged to support and assist with fundraising efforts of HGNC (Mother’s Day weekend plant sale; smaller events through the season; letters inviting donations as the season closes or at year end).
  • We grant Hansberry Garden & Nature Center permission to use our likenesses in photographs, videos, or other digital media in any and all of its publications, including web-based publications, without payment or other consideration.
  • We understand that neither HGNC, the HGNC Board, nor any HGNC member is responsible for our actions. We therefore agree to indemnify and hold harmless HGNC Inc., or its board, collectively or individually, for any liability, loss or claim that occurs in connection with the use of HGNC by us or any of our family or guests.
  • I/We understand that I am/we are responsible for any damage, loss or theft caused by me, my family and/or my guests and that I/we may be subject to making restitution to HGNC for such damage.

Privileges of Planting Membership

  1. Each $40 planting membership fee covers one planting bed. Sharing the bed with a friend does not increase the cost unless you want an additional set of keys. There is an additional cost of $5 for the first set of keys. Replacement keys are at market rate.
  2. Members have full access to tools, water, and supplies stored in the tool shed and gardening resources available on site to cultivate their own beds. The long-anticipated water renewal project began last season and was, like many things in 2020, Covid-interrupted. It should be completed this season.
  3. Members are entitled to attend Board meetings, special members’ events, and all community events or workshops hosted by Hansberry Garden. We hope by season’s end this year that we’ll all really be gathering together in our beautiful space.
  4. Returning members who have gardened with HGNC for at least one season consecutively and who renew before March 17 may begin gardening prior to the Spring Gathering after having a conversation with Membership Chair Janet Peterman (please email her your phone number at membership@hansberrygarden.org to arrange for a phone call), in order to take advantage of early spring crops and early bed preparation as soon as the ground thaws.

Practical Gardening Agreements for our Shared Use of Space

  • Members will notify the membership chair of extended absences during the growing season to specify maintenance and harvest arrangements during the absence.
  • Plants in members’ beds must not block walkways or impinge upon neighboring beds.
  • Members will not plant outside their beds unless approved by the landscape/maintenance chair.
  • Members agree to harvest produce in a timely manner from their planting bed. If ripe produce is neglected in a bed, members should expect to hear from someone about donating their produce to the City Harvest Program. 

Membership Requirements

  • New in 2021: Priority for planting beds will be given to residents living in Southwest Germantown, defined by these borders: Chelten Avenue to Wayne Junction; Germantown Avenue to Wissahickon Avenue; and secondarily to Philadelphia City residents. Members in good standing who already hold planting beds are not affected by this rule change.
  • Members are required to attend the annual Spring Gathering on March 20, 2021, 10 a.m. to noon (ZOOM), unless excused by Membership Chair Janet Peterman.
  • Membership becomes active when 
    • HGNC receives the annual $40 membership fee or a request for a scholarship (new & returning members) and the submission of a membership application
    • HGNC receives the $5 key fee (new members only)
    • A representative of each planting-bed household has attended the Spring Gathering (new and returning members) and an orientation session (required for all new members, if a planting bed is available) or have had a conversation with the membership chair (returning members, if unable to attend Spring Gathering).
  • Members commit to completing ten (10) volunteer hours per planting-bed household during the course of the 2020 season: March through October.
  • The board and committees will provide multiple ways for you to fulfill this membership requirement. You are welcome to keep giving, once your required hours are completed:
    • Monthly “Tend the Garden” Days (group workdays, lots of fun, but on Saturdays, when some can’t attend) 
    • Posted task lists online and at the garden following workdays, follow-up for individuals who can’t make the workdays
    • Tasks for those who can’t do physical labor
    • Committee work, leadership roles
    • Events staffing and planning
    • Hosting of public garden Hours, every Saturday, 10 a.m. to noon, May through September (We’ll begin public hours of the garden this season when we can.)
    • Other needs identified through the season
  • Event hosts/committee leaders will provide sign-in sheets to gather volunteer hours for group events, but each planting-bed household is responsible for logging hours in the Member section of HGNC’s website or in the Garden Member Notebook kept in the shed to keep track of its participation and in fulfilling its required hours for the season.

Rules of Participation: a Little History

Hansberry Garden, an association of volunteers, has struggled for a number of years to provide a healthy, green, growing space in the midst of our community with shared responsibility for the upkeep of the common spaces, perennial beds, mowing, trash pickup and the like. We aim to provide a place of beauty, peacefulness, and growth, for ourselves and for our neighbors. We have a few supporting members, but the core of our membership is the 39 households who hold planting beds each year. Leaders will always carry more responsibility for the running of the Garden. But each household contributes to the communal life of Hansberry Garden — beyond the tending of our own planting beds — so that we are able to manage the many tasks it takes to keep our property in order, and to do the wondrous other kinds of programming that our beautiful space makes possible.

In 2019, we began a new system of record keeping of these communal hours, to hold ourselves accountable. Though our calculations were imperfect, to the best we were able to determine, we found that 21% of our membership offered no communal hours that year, and 38%, including the earlier 21%, offered less than 5 for the whole season. We realized that we can’t continue to function as a COMMUNITY garden while giving the valuable resource of our planting beds away with that level of participation. Thus the board adapted the 2020 membership requirements to require participation of every planting bed member in the working of the garden to continue being eligible for a planting bed for 2021.

Yet the pandemic upended so much about our gardening season, along with everything about life in America, that the garden board has decided that no one will have their garden bed suspended for not completing their volunteer hours in 2020. Those volunteer requirements WILL be in effect for the 2021 season, required to continue being eligible for a planting bed for 2022.

2021 Membership Application


Hansberry Garden & Nature Center’s membership application for 2021 is at https://forms.gle/Lz7bXFnmAx26W9FJA