2024 Membership Agreement

Privileges, Rules and Requirements of Membership, Common Agreements
and Important Dates for the 2024 Season

HGNC Shared Commitments

Signing an agreement for a membership in Hansberry Garden and Nature Center is an agreement to the following shared commitments:

  • Organic Gardening: We agree to share Hansberry Garden’s approach to protecting our environment through the use of nontoxic approaches to soil health and horticulture. 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.
  • Respect: We agree to respect our fellow garden members and visitors with our actions and in our communications.
  • Inclusiveness: We understand that Hansberry Garden 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.
  • Honor System: We understand that Hansberry Garden 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.
  • Keeping Children Safe: 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.
  • Volunteering Time to the Community: We understand that Hansberry Garden is an all-volunteer organization, requiring the participation of all members to succeed. 
    • A set number of ten (10) volunteer hours is required of each planting member household per year to remain in good standing and therefore able to keep the same planting bed for the following year. These hours should include attendance at at least three (3) of our monthly Tend the Garden Days unless work or health concerns prevent it (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 (e.g., Mother’s Day weekend plant fair; smaller events through the season; communications with potential donors, etc.).
  • We May Be Photographed: 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 Accept Responsibility for our Actions: 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. We understand that we are responsible for any damage, loss or theft caused by us, our families and/or our guests and that 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 or membership in our Garden Collective. Financial assistance is available to cover the membership fee or part of it if paying the fee is a hardship. Sharing a membership with a friend does not increase the cost unless you want an additional set of keys. The key fee is $5 per person for the first set of keys. Replacement keys are at market rate.
  2. Members have full access to water, tools, supplies stored in the tool shed, and gardening resources available on site to cultivate their own beds. Members are responsible for turning water off after using it.
  3. Members are entitled to attend meetings of the HGNC Board of Directors, special members’ events, and all community events or workshops hosted by Hansberry Garden. Events are posted on our online calendar.

Practical Gardening Agreements for our Shared Use of Space

  • Members who hold individual planting beds 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 need to have their beds cleared and planted by May 31 or they forfeit the use of their planting bed to someone on the waiting list. Please ask for assistance from a mentor or consider joining the Garden Collective if you have trouble getting started!
  • Members agree to rid their beds of invasive weeds before weeds reach a stage of growth that enables them to spread to neighboring beds.
  • 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.  

2024 Membership Requirements Include:

  • Planting members commit to completing ten (10) volunteer hours per household during the course of the season: March through October.
  • Where possible, unless work or health concerns prevent, members should include attending at least 3 Tend the Garden Days in their work total. Please contact the Membership Chair (membership@hansberrygarden.org) to request a waiver of this requirement if necessary. Note: the number of work hours needed to keep Hansberry Garden viable is actually far more than the minimum of 10 per member household, and some members contribute many times that amount. We encourage you to join them!
  • 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, on Saturdays)
    • 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
    • Other needs identified through the season

How Do You Become a Member?

Priority for planting memberships 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, made in 2021.

  • Members agree to attend the annual Spring Gathering on March 16, 2024, 10 a.m. to noon (at the garden, Wayne & Hansberry), weather permitting. Rain location: the Weavers Co-op Germantown Outreach Office, 326B W Chelten Avenue.
  • Membership becomes active when
    • HGNC receives the annual $40 membership fee or a request for financial assistance and a membership application form (online form at https://forms.gle/of14d7uMmr22FDsbA ; contact membership chair at membership@hansberrygarden.org for a printable version) which is confirmed received by someone on the Membership Team.
    • HGNC receives the $5 key fee (new members only)
    • AND members have attended the Spring Gathering (new and returning members) and a collective orientation session (required for new members).

Returning members who gardened with HGNC in 2023 who renew after February 28 may begin gardening prior to the Spring Gathering after having a conversation with the Membership Chair (email membership@hansberrygarden.org to get the ball rolling), in order to take advantage of early spring crops and early bed preparation as soon as the ground thaws.

Event Hosts/Committee Leaders will provide sign-in sheets or direct members to an online form to gather volunteer hours for group events. There is also a Garden Member Notebook kept in the shed for members to keep track of participation in fulfilling required hours (and more!) for the season.

Important Dates for 2024

  • Membership Renewal and new applications for membership open Feb. 28.
  • Membership Renewal deadline to keep your bed or place in the Garden Collective from last year: March 13. Returning members will pay the $40 membership fee or request scholarship assistance and submit membership agreements by March 13 in order to maintain use of the same bed from the previous year. If membership has not been renewed by March 13, availability of a planting bed and use of the same bed is not guaranteed. Beds will be reassigned beginning Thursday, March 14.
  • Spring Gathering, a required meeting for all new members, and encouraged for all members, held Saturday, March 16, from 10 a.m. to noon. The meeting will be held at the garden, weather permitting. Rain location: the new Germantown Weavers Way office space, 326B W Chelten Avenue.
  • Our annual plant fair is scheduled for Saturday, May 11. The Plant Fair requires a lot of volunteer labor, both on the day of the event and during the weeks leading up to it.
  • Planting bed holders need to have their beds cultivated by May 31 or they forfeit the use of their planting bed to someone on the Wait List.
  • The garden season ends on Nov 1. To minimize the spread of fungus and other diseases throughout the garden, planting bed holders must clear their beds of all summer growth before this date. Any who want to use a cover crop or who have overwintering crops in their bed may seek permission of the membership chair to extend their growing season beyond Nov. 1. Other crops left in planting beds beyond November 1 are donated to City Harvest.