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COMMUNITY GARDENS IN MILWAUKEE

PROCEDURES FOR THEIR LONG-TERM STABILITY


& THEIR IMPORTANT TO THE CITY

Team: Andrew Bremer, Ken Jenkins, &


Diana Kanter

Client: Milwaukee Urban Gardens (MUG)

Applied Planning Workshop


Urban Planning 811
Department of Urban Planning
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
May 13, 2003
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Milwaukee Urban Gardens (MUG), a two-year-old non-profit organization in the city that
advocates the use of land for community gardens in the urban environment through the
assemblage of a land trust, would like to make community gardens a more permanent part of
the urban landscape. No policy currently exists in Milwaukee that specifically recognizes
community gardens as having a place in the urban environment. MUG identified this as a chief
concern in the promotion, advancement and security of community gardens in Milwaukee, and
approached the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee’s Department of Urban Planning to see if a
class would take this on as a special project. This report reflects the findings and
recommendations resultant of that request.

This report contains a body of research relating community gardening in Milwaukee to other
cities in the nation. The Problem Statement identifies current issues facing Milwaukee Urban
Gardens (MUG) and the hurdles facing this organization in getting policies passed to protect the
permanent status of community gardens in Milwaukee. The context provided in this Problem
Statement helps identify objectives for MUG and for this paper.

In the next section, Brief History of Community Gardening, an examination of community


gardening in the United States relates Milwaukee to the larger established history of community
gardening. It also discusses the current status of gardening in Milwaukee and provides insight
into the supply, the demand, and the users of Milwaukee community gardens. This review of
community gardening in Milwaukee led to discussions with citizens, developers, gardeners, and
planners in Milwaukee about the three areas of concerns for community gardening. They were
identified as maintenance, insurance, and criminal activity and safety. Each of these is
discussed in detail, and where appropriate solutions are provided.

The next major section deals with the wide variety of benefits community gardens provide to the
neighborhood and its users. These benefits are quantified for community gardens positive
effect on the surrounding properties and economic benefits provided to users. Also, there are a
number of soft values provided by community gardens. Benefits include the solidification of the
social fabric of the neighborhood, accumulated environmental impacts, and positive effects for
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individual on health, education, nutrition, and additional economic benefits. Establishing the
many benefits of Milwaukee community gardens is crucial to the implementation of protecting
policies.

A review of community gardening and community gardening policies in other cities provides a
contrasting point of view when implementing policies for Milwaukee. Community gardens in 6
Midwestern cities and 5 cities with populations at or below Milwaukee are used to compare raw
number of gardens, gardens per ten-thousand people, and policy review. Polices are reviewed
in terms of their effectiveness and are ordered least effective to most effective.

With this policy review in mind, the next section takes selected policies that were deemed to
have the most effect for Milwaukee. They are reviewed and scored for consistency with the
stated objectives and criterion of the project.

In the final section of the paper Procedures for the Future are identified for MUG. They are:

1. Add Community Gardens As A Permitted Use In The Zoning Code

2. Add A Definition Of Community Gardens To The Zoning Code

3. Reestablish The Garden Coalition

A. Adopt Community Gardens into The Comprehensive Plan

B. Create a Model Lease

C. Map Out Potential Garden Sites in Cooperation With The City

D. Pursue The Addition of Compensation Language to the Model Lease


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TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................................. 5

PROBLEM STATEMENT ....................................................................................................... 5

OBJECTIVES...................................................................................................................... 8

BRIEF HISTORY OF COMMUNITY GARDENS ........................................................................ 10


~MILWAUKEE COMMUNITY GARDENING HISTORY~ .................................................................... 11
~TYPES OF COMMUNITY GARDENS IN MILWAUKEE~ .................................................................. 12
~MILWAUKEE’S SUPPLY & DEMAND~ ....................................................................................... 13

PERCEPTIONS ISSUES & OPPORTUNITIES FOR COMMUNITY GARDENS ................................. 16


~MAINTENANCE~.~...................................................................................................................... 16
~INSURANCE~ .......................................................................................................................... 17
~CRIME AND SAFETY~ .............................................................................................................. 17

BENEFITS OF HAVING COMMUNITY GARDENS IN MILWAUKEE .............................................. 19


~MEASURABLE BENEFITS TO PROPERTY VALUE~ ..................................................................... 20
~OTHER ECONOMIC BENEFITS OF COMMUNITY GARDENS~ ....................................................... 22
~OTHER BENEFITS OF COMMUNITY GARDENS~ ......................................................................... 22

COMMUNITY GARDENING AND COMMUNITY GARDEN POLICIES IN OTHER CITIES .................. 25


~ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT POLICY~ ....................................................................................... 27
~LEASES~.
~ ................................................................................................................................ 2 9
~RESOLUTION~ ........................................................................................................................ 29
~ZONING~ ................................................................................................................................ 33
~COMPREHENSIVE PLAN~ ........................................................................................................ 35

POLICY OPTIONS AND EVALUATIONS FOR MILWAUKEE ....................................................... 36


~ALTERNATIVE EVALUATIONS~ ................................................................................................ 37
~ALTERNATIVE 1: NO ACTION~ ................................................................................................ 38
~ALTERNATIVE 2: LEASE AGREEMENTS~. ~.................................................................................. 39
~ALTERNATIVE 3: ZONING CODE MODIFICATIONS ~ .................................................................. 40
~ALTERNATIVE 3: COMPREHENSIVE PLAN ADDITIONS ~ ............................................................ 41

PROCEDURES FOR THE FUTURE ........................................................................................ 42


I. ADD COMMUNITY GARDENS AS A PERMITTED USE IN THE ZONING CODE .............................. 42
II. ADD A DEFINITION OF COMMUNITY GARDENS TO THE ZONING CODE .................................... 43
III. REESTABLISH THE GARDEN COALITION ............................................................................. 44

APPENDICIES .................................................................................................................. 46

BIBLIOGRAPHY & REFERENCES ........................................................................................ 92


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INTRODUCTION

The following report was completed as part of the Applied Planning Workshop, Spring 2003,
Urban Planning 811 graduate class within the Department of Urban Planning at the University of
Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The client for this project was Milwaukee Urban Gardens (MUG), who is
a two year old non-profit land trust. MUG’s mission is to “protect, create and develop
community gardens and open green space in Milwaukee to enhance urban living for all its
citizens.”

The primary purpose of this report was to analyze community gardening in Milwaukee and to
compare this with other similar cities that have had success maintaining community gardens.
The analysis does discuss supply and demand for the cities; however, the intent of this report
was to concentrate on policies that have been used in each city to protect community gardens
from development. The secondary purpose of this report was to document the history of
community gardening and to describe the benefits they provide the City of Milwaukee and its
residents. The report concludes with an analysis of the different policy options available for
MUG along with a recommendation for future procedures aimed at the long term stability of
MUG’s community gardens.

PROBLEM STATEMENT

Milwaukee Urban Gardens is a two-year-


old non-profit organization in the city that
advocates the use of land for urban
gardens through the assemblage of a land
trust. MUG takes vacant lots such as the
one pictured here, which are eye sores in
the City and turns them into an urban
oasis.

In their short existence they have gone


through leadership changes which have presented challenges to meeting their goals. Recently
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MUG has hired a new executive


director, Deb Ridgeway, who joins a
changing board of directors. This has
resulted in long transition periods,
knowledge gaps, and a re-creation of
organizational identity that inhibits
major progress. The difficulty with
being a new organization and having
internal roll over is that MUG has not
been able to build a strong relationship
with the City of Milwaukee. Unlike
major development corporations, non-profits entities do not have a lot of money that they can
use as bargaining chips. Non-profit groups often have to rely on a foundation of strong
relationships and partnerships with city officials and politicians in order to accomplish many of
their goals. However, strong relationships and partnerships can not be accomplished over
night; they must be earned over time. As MUG begins to solidify internally, and works with the
City on various projects, they should be able to strengthen their relationship with the City.

One of MUG’s major concerns is the tentative status of the majority of gardening lots in
Milwaukee. Community gardens are usually either located in existing parks, schools, churches,
or on vacant residential properties.
Those that are located on vacant
residential properties are leased on a
year to year basis from the City of
Milwaukee usually for a fee of one
dollar. The problem is that these
community gardens are subject to the
pressures of development and are
therefore very tenuous. Community
gardens are not even acknowledged
as a permitted use in any land use
zone in the City’s Zoning Code. At
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any time the City can take away the use of these lots for gardening for other uses such as
residential homes or commercial buildings, which the City deems as a more profitable or better
use of the site. Since 1972, there have been approximately 50 garden lots (3000 plots) that
have been lost (Historic UW-Extension files). The picture shown here was the location of the
Sunshine Community Garden which lost approximately 200 plots when the City decided to put
residential houses on the lot. The catch is that the very reasons why the City may want to
develop community garden lots are due to the community garden being located in the
neighborhood. City officials or developers may find community garden lots attractive because
property values in the neighborhood are on the rise and overall the neighborhood seems to
have more stability and less criminal activity. In reality, increased property values and
neighborhood stability are a result of the community garden being located in the neighborhood.
Therefore, removing these gardens may reverse these trends and cause the neighborhood to
slump back to its old conditions.

When a community garden is lost the affects are felt by many people. For the organization that
oversees the garden, they must find a new location if they wish to continue to provide people in
the city with a place to garden. The organization also does not get compensated for money and
time that went in to preparing the initial site or the money and time that will be needed to
prepare the new site. Figures for these costs are estimated at approximately $5000 in total.
The majority of these costs are in soil, the rest is absorbed by other necessary materials
(lumber, tools, etc) Feenstra, McGrew and Campbell, Entrepreneurial Community Gardens,
1999. Individuals who use the garden also do not get compensated for any money or time that
they put into beautifying their plots. Depending on when the garden is taken, individuals may
also lose out on a years worth of produce, which is valued at $50-$200 (Lackey, 1998). The
individual gardener may also not be able to continue gardening at the new location if it is located
too far away from their neighborhood. Finally, the removal of a community garden can affected
the City as a whole because community gardens are often a place for social gatherings among
neighborhood residents. Removing the garden can tear part the social fabric of a strong
neighborhood.

MUG’s goal at this time seems to be to find a way through policy options to make urban gardens
a more permanent part of the urban landscape. To assist them in meeting this goal, we will
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investigate the successful policies in other cities, explore potential options for a documented
policy in Milwaukee, and present MUG with our findings, reflected in a document that
recommends a policy proposal that will enable MUG to promote and advance the long term
stability of community gardens, for their approval and potential adoption.

OBJECTIVES

The following is a list of the objectives and criterion that were used to guide this report. These
objectives and criterion were developed by the authors after discussions with the client.

GOAL: Enable MUG to promote and advance the long term stability of community gardens in
Milwaukee. Long term stability is defined as five years to perpetuity.

1) Assess and describe the past and current status of community gardens.

a) Describe the history of community gardening in the United States.

b) Describe the history of community gardening in Milwaukee.

c) Assess who is gardening and why they are gardening in Milwaukee.

The purpose of this objective is to demonstrate that community gardening has had a long
history in the United States and in Milwaukee. This objective provides greater understanding
regarding the many purposes community gardens serve and describes in greater detail the
gardens and gardeners in Milwaukee.

2) The benefits community gardens add to the City in the following topics should be
addressed: environment, social, cultural, economic, health, safety, and education.

a) Specify the process in which community gardens add value to each of these
topics by citing supporting evidence from professional/scientific research and/or
expert testimony.
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The purpose of this objective is to demonstrate how community gardens not only benefit
individual gardeners and garden organizations, but also the neighborhoods they serve and the
City as a whole. Providing this information builds a stronger case for community gardening in
Milwaukee.

3) Assess and describe policies which have been used in five other major metropolitan
cities for promoting the long term stability of community gardens.

a) The major metropolitan cities will be similar to Milwaukee in either population or


location. Population: (Portland, Boston, Seattle, and Berkeley) and Midwest
location: (Minneapolis, Chicago, Madison). Policy options could include any of
the following comprehensive plan language, zoning language, leases, common
council resolutions, etc.

The purpose of this objective is to investigate how other cities similar to Milwaukee have dealt
with development pressure surrounding their community gardens. In investigation of policies
used to promote the long term stability in other cities is necessary in order to proceed with
policies in Milwaukee.

4) Provide a range of policy options for promoting the long term stability of community
gardens in Milwaukee.

a) Develop at least four policy alternatives that lead to the protection of community
gardens for periods from five years to permanency.

b) Where appropriate, suggest compensatory alternatives for the loss of


established community gardens within developed policy alternatives.

The purpose of this objective is to list in detail what options are available for promoting the long
term stability of community gardening in Milwaukee.
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5) Recommend procedures for promoting the long term stability of community gardens in
Milwaukee.

a) Procedures shouldn’t hinder the relationship between MUG & the City.

The purpose of this objective is to provide MUG with a starting point from which they can
proceed with a set of steps aimed at securing more stability for community gardens in
Milwaukee.

BRIEF HISTORY OF COMMUNITY GARDENS

The following section briefly describes the history of community gardening in the United States
and in the City of Milwaukee. The purpose of the history lesson is to demonstrate that
community gardens have existed for many years, served many purposes, and are an important
part of the urban fabric.

Potato Patches (1890-1930) Community gardens started as a need for them


School Gardens (1900-1920) developed during war times and times of attrition.
Garden City Plots (1905-1910)
Potato Patches served the urban poor and were seen
Liberty Gardens (1917-1920)
Relief Gardens (1935-1979) as an interim use by the city until times improved.
Victory Gardens (1941-1945) School Gardens served as an educational tool about
Community Gardens (1980+)
nature for children growing up in an industrial society.
Garden City plots resulted from the City Beautiful movement, facilitating “a new sociability that
cut across classes” and “rest from the tensions of urban life” (Bassett, 1981).

During the First World War, Americans were called to garden in order to support the troop’s food
supply. Though gardening had hitherto been done in urban environments, it was largely
associated with the ‘lower class’ and ‘the poor’. As a call to patriotism however, this attitude
shifted as Liberty Gardens now appealed to the middle and upper classes, thus gaining
popularity and widespread participation (A Deeper Ecology: Community Gardens in the Urban
Environment, Erin A. Williamson).
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During the depression of the 1930s, community gardens brought nourishment and peace of
mind back to struggling Americans in the form of Relief Gardens. Again, in the Second World
War, the labor shift, resulting from many of the breadwinners and farm hands at the time going
to fight the war gave cause for Victory Gardens. As a result, nearly 20 million Americans
partook in Victory Gardens, which produced up to 40% of the food consumed at the time
(Victory Seeds.com).

~MILWAUKEE COMMUNITY GARDENING HISTORY~

Community gardening has had presence in Milwaukee since World War I via Victory Gardens.
Community gardening had a quiet profile from the 1940s until the 1970s when an urban
revitalization movement began in cities nationwide. In 1972, the Milwaukee County University
of Wisconsin-Extension began a formal program. The focus of this program was food
production. The first gardens started at the County Grounds in Wauwatosa where over 1,000
plots were constructed. Community gardening continued to grow into the 1970s. Gardens on
51st in Franklin, at the Timmerman Airport, and at the Mitchell International Airport were added
with an additional 650 plots being constructed.

In 1977 Milwaukee received federal funding from the 23 Cities Program. A program entitled
“Shoots n’ Roots” began providing food to the inner-city. The program expanded through the
80s to a total of 52 community gardens and over 4,000 plots. Records from the Milwaukee
Urban Gardening Newsletter show a total of $8.9 million worth of produce grown from 1978-
1989 (Milwaukee Urban Gardening newsletter Jan-Feb, 1986, 1987).

In the 1990s, booming economic conditions increased development pressures, coupled with
decreases in UW-Extension funding; as many as 18 gardens (2,200 plots) were lost. While
these gardens were lost, they were continually being replenished. In the 1980s as many 52
gardens existed, today 62 community gardens exist in Milwaukee County, with 89% or 57
gardens in the City of Milwaukee.

In the late 1990s, the focus of community gardening shifted from food production to a variety of
uses. Gardens are used for neighborhood beautification, economic development, education,
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and providing activities for youth. The next section discusses garden types that are found in
Milwaukee today.
~TYPES OF COMMUNITY GARDENS IN MILWAUKEE~

Rental gardens are those managed by a public or


private sector owner where garden plots are rented out
for individual use. A typical garden plot is 20’ x 20’.

Youth gardens, managed by a public or private sector


owner, are used to educate and build community within
neighborhoods.

School gardens, managed operated by staff of


specific schools, are used to supplement
curriculums.

Demonstration gardens are those gardens managed


by a public or private sector owner to demonstrate the
purpose and effect of community gardens.

Accessible gardens are those that have raised beds


and wide aisles to accommodate those bound to wheel
chairs and walkers.
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Neighborhood gardens are those that are formed by individuals and organizations to provide a
community gathering spot on a once vacant lot. Often these gardens can be used for farmers
markets or art fairs.
~MILWAUKEE’S SUPPLY & DEMAND~

Supply
Over a thirty year history Milwaukee has maintained about the
same number of gardens in its inventory. In the 1980s, at the
height of the University of Wisconsin Extension’s Shoots’ n Roots
program, there were 52 food-producing gardens totaling nearly
4,000 plots. Today Milwaukee supplies 57 gardens. However, in
Typical Plot Rental Garden
the 1990s the focus of food-producing gardens changed to a
variety of uses for community gardens. The form of these gardens has
changed. Plots are not used to divide up the garden. These gardens
are designed as a continuous whole. This can be illustrated by the
pictures to the right. The top garden is divided into plots, while the
Beautification garden is designed as a pleasure garden. What this
means is community gardens can not just be measured by a raw count
of plots; community gardens are not just plot gardens.

Beautification
The table below demonstrates the current status of Milwaukee Garden (non-plot)
gardening. There are six different garden types represented in Milwaukee. The largest supply
of gardens type is neighborhood gardens at 28 gardens, or 49%. Neighborhood gardens, as
mentioned in a previous section, provide a place for the community to gather on what was once
a vacant lot. These gardens are community development projects and may or may not have
plots for food production. That does not mean there are not food-producing community gardens
in existence.
Gardens by Type

7% 11%
14% Demonstration
Neighborhood
Rental
19% School
49%
Youth
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Gardens by Type Number


Demonstration 6
Neighborhood 28
Rental 12
School 8
Youth 4 There are 11 rental gardens that account for 19% of
Sum: 58 the supply. The average number of plots for the
rental gardens in the City of Milwaukee is 15 plots on a typical 80’ by 100’
Milwaukee lot. Actual numbers are 482 total plots: 450 plots at 10 gardens run by
the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee County Extension, 22 plots at the Triangle
Community Garden at 24th and Sarnow, and the Walnut Hill Community Garden run
by the Lisbon Avenue Neighborhood Development Community Development
Corporation has approximately 10 plots. (UW-EX Milwaukee County 2002). The
remaining garden types—school, youth, and demonstration—account for 18
gardens and 32% of the supply.

Demand
There has been no formal study done for demand of community gardening in the City of
Milwaukee. This is not just a local occurrence. A series of interviews conducted by Geoff
Herbach, author of Harvesting the City: Community Gardening in Greater Madison, Wisconsin,
found no established recording keeping of demand for community gardening organizations
across the nation. (Herbach, 1998) However, demand can be justified by a number of indicators.
Those that will be used in this section are historic demand, accountings of demand, a national
Gallop survey, and a profile of Southeast Wisconsin users and why they garden.
A good summation of demand in Milwaukee can be found in the following quote from the Jill
Florence Lackey and Associates publication, “Every year we lose two or three [gardens] in the
City, and we build two or three.” (Lackey, 1998) This insinuates that supply keeps up with
demand for community gardening. Historic evidence would support this assumption. As shown
in the previous section, Milwaukee has remained at or near 55 gardens per year since the
1980s.

Another indicator of demand is difficulty people have getting plots at their local community
garden. A quote from Dennis Lukaszewski, UW-EX Urban Gardens Director, notes interest at
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rental gardens in the City of Milwaukee, “…the gardens at 25th and Vliet and 35th and Lisbon
are always full and people call looking for space in that area. Also, our garden at 5th and Becher
is always full.” This accounting gives evidence of gardening demand for plots at rental gardens
for the 2002 season.

Trends can also be established by national level surveys. Two past Gallop poll surveys show
demand. Seven million respondents to a 1980s Gallop poll wanted to garden but had no land to
garden on. Additionally, 76% of people in a similar Gallup poll wanted community gardens to be
a part of their neighborhoods. (Herbach, 1998)

Additionally, a 1998 study done by Jill Florence Lackey and Associates entitled, “Evaluation of
Community Gardens (A Program of the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension)” gives a
local perspective of who gardens and why there is demand. Community gardeners come from
diverse backgrounds. As the charts below indicate four ethnicities are represented at
community gardens. European Americans make up 62%, African Americans make up 17%,
Asian American account 15%, and the Hispanic/Latino community represents 7% of
respondents.

7% European American Age make up of individuals at community


17%
Asian American
gardens is almost evenly distributed: 21%
African American

61% Hispanic/Latino
15%
Reasons for Gardening

are 54 years or older, 31% are 36-54 years-old,


80
Fun
17% are 26-35 years-old, 11% of the 70

respondents are 18-25 years-old, and 20% are 60 Fresher Food


50 75
68 57 57
9-17 years old. (Lackey, 1998) 40 47 Exercise

30
Meet New People
20
The reason people garden is as diverse as 10 Keep Cultural
Traditions
their backgrounds. These percentages will not 0
1

total 100% as respondents were allowed to


choose more than one response. The percentages represent the frequency of these responses,
indicating the top five reasons people chose to garden. In this study, the most cited reason for
gardening was fun with 75% of respondents choosing this answer. The next most cited reason
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for gardening was fresher food at 68% of respondents. Following fresher food was exercise
with 57% of respondents selecting this answer. Meeting new people had the same number of
persons, 57%, picking this answer. Keeping cultural traditions was the next most chosen
response at 47%. (Lackey, 1998)

PERCEPTIONS ISSUES & OPPORTUNITIES FOR COMMUNITY GARDENS

The perception of community gardens has shown itself to be one of the major obstacles in their
formation. Informal interviews with a variety of citizens, developers, gardeners and planners
have identified maintenance, insurance and criminal activity/safety as three reoccurring
areas of concern or obstacles to community gardens. The following section explores these
issues for their merit and where appropriate, offers solutions that address them.

~MAINTENANCE~

Several staff people at the Department of City Development in Milwaukee and the Planning
Department cited lack of maintenance as one of the major detractors of a community garden.
The general perception seems to be that the gardens become eyesores in the neighborhood,
rather than the enhancers that they should be.

Maintenance can be addressed by creating a set of guidelines for those taking responsibility for
the gardens. Developing a specific signed agreement that recognizes both the need for
maintenance and responsible party(ies) is strongly recommended and could be a condition for
lease renewal. Such a condition would be attractive to the City of Milwaukee when leasing out a
vacant lot for gardening, and would encourage active participation by the gardeners.

The following list of compliance guidelines for starting a community garden is suggested by the
American Community Garden Association:

Sample Guidelines and Rules: Some may be more relevant to vegetable gardens
than to community flower gardens. Pick and choose what best fits your situation.

• I will pay a fee of $ to help cover garden expenses. I understand that of this will
be refunded to me when I clean up my plot at the end of the season.
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• I will have something planted in the garden by (date) and keep it planted all
summer long.
• If I must abandon my plot for any reason, I will notify the manager.
• I will keep weeds down and maintain the areas immediately surrounding my plot
if any.
• If my plot becomes unkempt, I understand I will be given 1 week's notice to clean
it up. At that time, it will be re-assigned or tilled in.
• I will keep trash and litter cleaned from the plot, as well as from adjacent
pathways and fences.
• I will participate in the fall cleanup of the garden. I understand that the $ deposit
will be refunded only to those who do participate.
• I will plant tall crops where they will not shade neighboring plots.
• I will pick only my own crops unless given permission by the plot user.
• I will not use fertilizers, insecticides or weed repellents that will in any way affect
other plots.
• I agree to volunteer hours toward community gardening efforts. (include a list of
volunteer tasks which your garden needs).
• I will not bring pets to the garden.
Starting a Community Garden, American Community Garden Association

~INSURANCE~

Insurance is a necessary consideration for community gardens because, as with any physical
activity, there always exists the possibility of accidental injury. Though a legitimate and
reasonable concern, the issue of insurance need not discourage the growth of community
gardens. A signed “HOLD HARMLESS” clause can remove the liability and potential for a
lawsuit from the gardening organization or landowner. An example of such a clause can be
seen below:

I understand that neither the garden group nor owners of the land are responsible for my
actions. I THEREFORE AGREE TO HOLD HARMLESS THE GARDEN GROUP AND
OWNERS OF THE LAND FOR ANY LIABILITY, DAMAGE, LOSS OR CLAIM THAT
OCCURS IN CONNECTION WITH USE OF THE GARDEN BY ME OR ANY OF MY
GUESTS.
(American Community Gardening Association) Appendix A

~CRIME AND SAFETY~

The perceived correlation between crime/lack of safety and community gardens largely stems
from the notion that tall, densely vegetated areas can provide cover so that lurking criminals can
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be out of sight and undetected. This perception issue can be easily addressed by strategically
locating gardens where they are visible by surrounding residential units. The density and
height of the vegetation in the garden can also be controlled, removing any potential “hiding
spots”. Locating parcels where there are “eyes on the garden” from surrounding houses
reduces opportunities for crime and increases the sense of safety around the gardens. The
same view onto the garden that affords aesthetic beauty also serves as a watch, dispelling the
perception that the garden may be a harbor for criminals.

Actual correlations between gardens and crime are nary to be found. In reality, gardens
increase the safety of an area by improving the neighborhood and populating the area with good
citizens among other reasons. Here are a few expert references to community gardens in low-
income, densely populated areas where actual relief to local crime has resulted from the
introduction of gardens:

Success Garden, West 134th Street, Central Harlem area of Manhattan, New York
“Drug dealers who once conducted a thriving business on the lot were "squeezed out" by the
garden's operations.” [ublib.buffalo.edu/libraries/projects/bruner/1995a/success_garden/abstract/]

Two of the Urban Gardens Named National "John Deere Seeds Of Hope" Winners, South Chicago and
New Orleans South Chicago's People's Park, Chicago, IL
Located in an economically and socially devastated area, the garden was once a haven for drug
sales and gang activities. Today the South Chicago People's Park is a beautiful place for all ages
to garden, play, relax and read. Preschool classes use the space; neighborhood kids gather to
play and do homework in a safe environment. Crime is all but non-existent.
(http://www.cityfarmer.org/commgardennews.html)

Parkway Partners' Kids Café Community Garden, New Orleans, LA


A once-blighted, vacant inner-city lot has been transformed into a safe haven for teaching area
children life lessons and volunteerism. The young gardeners share fresh vegetables with area
low-income seniors. Crime has been eliminated from the lot.
(http://www.cityfarmer.org/commgardennews.html)

"It's a known fact among urban gardeners that crime decreases in the area around a community
garden"
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[Quote by Phil Tietz of NYC’s Green Guerrillas from “New York's Urban Gardens --Fusing Rural
Experience to the City” By Paul Bennett, 04-30-96]
Perhaps the strongest evidence to suggest that community gardens have a negative correlation
with crime is seen in the study Environment and Behavior by Frances E. Kuo and William C.
Sullivan from May of 2001(greater detail of this report is offered in Appendix B). Generally,
there findings were:
• “Residents living in ‘greener’ surroundings report lower levels of fear, fewer incivilities,
and less aggressive and violent behavior. “
• “The greener a building's surroundings are the fewer total crimes; moreover, this
relationship extended to both property crimes and violent crimes.”
• “Compared to buildings with low levels of vegetation, those with medium levels had 42%
fewer total crimes, 40% fewer property crimes, and 44% fewer violent crimes. Buildings
with high levels of vegetation had 52% fewer total crimes, 48% fewer property crimes,
and 56% fewer violent crimes than buildings with low levels of vegetation. “

Research and studies have shown, and contrary to what some may fear, community gardens
are enhancer of places, detractors of crime and positive additions to the urban environment.

BENEFITS OF HAVING COMMUNITY GARDENS IN MILWAUKEE

One of the most difficult aspects of promoting community gardens is to quantify the benefits that
they provide communities and cities. When promoting the conversion of natural lands to
residential or commercial purposes it is much easier to put a dollar value on their worth than it is
a community garden or park. Developers can easily show city officials that the construction of a
residential complex will add X dollars in property tax each year, or the construction of a
commercial building will provide the community with X number of jobs. These hard, quantifiable
figures are very powerful and can often sway city officials to approve the development of natural
lands especially when the city is facing budget crunches. Critics of community gardens may be
in favor of community gardens but cite that the city can not afford to allow any more community
gardens because these properties do not generate any property tax revenue because of their
exempt status. However, community gardens and natural areas also have a value and whether
20

that value can be quantified is important if community garden supporters want to deter the
development of garden lots.

~MEASURABLE BENEFITS TO PROPERTY VALUE~

Critics of community gardens often acknowledge the social benefits the gardens can bring but
regard these as secondary in importance compared to monetary value that they perceive these
gardens take from the city. However, there is a body of research which exists that has
quantified the value parks and open space can have for a city. This research is founded on the
principle that the economic value of parks and open space can be accounted for by measuring
the amount of money they add to the value of surrounding properties. The notion is that people
are often willing to pay more money to live near areas that have park and open space then they
would for a comparable home that is further away. The belief is that the competitive market will
bid up the value of the properties around the park and open space. Since property
assessments are based on market values the result of increased market values is increased
property tax revenue for the city. The means of inferring the value of a non-market resource
(community garden) from the prices of goods actually traded in the market place (surrounding
residential properties) is referred to as hedonic pricing. The notion that a property near a park
will have a greater value then a similar property further away from the park is termed the
proximate principle. (Crompton, 2001)

The Positive and Negative Impacts of Parks on Residential Property Values


(Crompton 2001)

Research on the relationship of


property value to park proximity
dates back as far as 1856 when
Frederick Law Olmsted
documented the impact Central
Park in New York had on the
property tax base of the
surrounding wards. Olmstead
21

estimated that the construction of Central Park had attributed four million dollars annually to the
city’s tax roll seventeen years after its construction. More recently, Crompton (2001) compiled
the results of approximately 30 studies investigating the effects park and open space have had
on surrounding property values. In all but five of the studies the results supported the proximate
principle. Crompton notes that in the five studies that that did not support the proximate
principle limited methods of analysis were used. Crompton has suggested that a positive
impact of 20% on property values adjoining a park is reasonable for parks with less active uses
and 10% for parks with more active uses (ball diamonds, etc.). The studies have shown that a
typical neighborhood park has a positive impact on surrounding property values up to 500 feet
way from the park, up to as much as 2000 (approx. ½ mile) feet, for larger community parks.

Recently an analysis was completed in Washington County, WI which analyzed the proximate
principle for two county parks, Jackson and Homestead Hollow. The results from the Jackson
Park analysis showed that properties within 200 feet of the park experienced a decline in total
assessed value of $113.36 as the distance from the park increased by every foot. It was
determined that an aggregate total assessed value of $1,578,801 could be attributed to
residential properties within 1000 feet of the park. This amount resulted in an annual addition of
$30,218.25 to the tax rolls. Similar results were found for the properties surrounding
Homestead Hollow County Park. (Sielski, 2002)

To date no studies have been done which examine the relationship a community garden has on
surrounding property values. Lutzenhiser and Netusil (2001) examined the relationship different
types of parks had on surrounding property values in Portland Oregon. Their study broke the
catch-all park category into three categories, urban park, natural area park, and specialty/facility
parks. All three park categories were found to have a positive and statistically significant impact
on homes up to 1,500 feet from these areas, with natural area parks demonstrating the greatest
effects.

It is unclear whether Lutzenhiser and Netusil specialty/facility park category included community
gardens. A similar study was completed as part of this project, which just examined the effect
community gardens have on surrounding property values in Milwaukee. The results from the
analysis showed that properties within 250 feet of community gardens experienced a decline in
22

total assessed of $24.77 as the distance from the community gardens increases by every foot.
The results showed a statistically significant decline in total assessed value as far out as 750
feet (three blocks) from the community gardens. It was determined that an aggregate total
assessed value of approximately eight million dollars could be attributed to residential properties
within three blocks of the community gardens. It was found that the average community garden
attributes approximately $9,000 to the City’s tax roll annually. For more information on the study
refer to Appendix C.

~OTHER ECONOMIC BENEFITS OF COMMUNITY GARDENS~

Community gardens also added Produce Value 1978-1989

economic value through the produce $2,500,000

that gardeners harvest. Records $2,000,000


from the Milwaukee Urban Gardening
$1,500,000
Newsletter show a total of $8.9
$1,000,000
million worth of produce grown from
$500,000
1978-1989. (UW-EX Milwaukee
$-
County, 1986 & 1987) In addition, 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988
75% of the respondents in the
Lackey (1998) survey estimated saving between $50 and $200 on produce every year.

~SOFT BENEFITS OF COMMUNITY GARDENS~

The most dramatic effects that a community garden can have on a neighborhood and city are
also the most difficult to measure. Hard numbers are difficult to come by for these benefits, and
so they are often referred to as “soft values”. These “soft values” deserve greater recognition
than they often receive. Fortunately their reputation is well known. The following quote from
Greg Shelko, assistant director of the Milwaukee's Redevelopment Authority, was in response to
a request for any information on what positive economic impact Garden Park has had in the
Riverwest community or on surrounding properties1.

1
Please refer to the sections “Measurable Benefits to Property Value” and “Economy” for economic benefit information.
23

“I really don't have anything in particular regarding economic impact. I do, however, have
some thoughts. Given the evolution of the park, it is clear that this or any urban community
needs and wants places to socially interact. There is an intrinsic value to recreational
gardening. I believe there is a direct economic benefit for vegetable growers, especially for
those with low incomes. The farmer's market is real commerce. The improvements have
beautified the neighborhood and tell passers-by that this is a flourishing area. The
occasional entertainment is a 'value-added' and cultural amenity to the park. I believe there
are some educational elements to the park. All in all, I believe there is tremendous value,
mostly intangible but no less real.”
- Greg Shelko, Assistant Director Milwaukee’s Redevelopment Authority

As mentioned above, much of the value gardens contribute to an urban environment is difficult
to measure. This is either because they are very sensitive to specific conditions of climate, soil
or vegetation type and immediate physical surroundings or these “soft values” affect the well-
being of citizens in a way that is very difficult to measure. These areas of value are extremely
important when evaluating the overall worth of community gardens and so are here explored in
further detail. As much as possible, measurable results or studies are cited to support these
“soft values” (for more detail refer to Appendix A). The numerous elements of the urban
environment that community gardens add value to will be described here in brief.

Gardens improve the environment through conserving resources that are typically used when
produce is sourced at a food store. This can be attributed the fuel energy consumed in
transporting the produce to the store and in refrigeration during transport and at the store.
Additionally, packaging materials are un-necessary for garden vegetables.

Community gardens help to reduce the urban heat island effect, improve air quality, water
quality, and soil quality. The very elements of the garden which improve air, water and soil also
beautify the neighborhood, helping to create a gathering place where people want to enjoy
time together and share their lives. This inherent placemaking aspect of community gardens
helps to improve the social fabric by creating a place where people can maintain and share their
cultural heritage, mentor youth and promote tolerance for diversity of all sorts including age,
ethnicity and handicap.

As a community garden becomes a neighborhood “place”, it becomes an amenity to the


community it serves. As an amenity, a community garden acts as an enhancer, an attractor,
and a small catalyst for neighborhood improvements which may include the overall
24

improvement of the neighborhood and the introduction of new small businesses that are
attracted to this popularized, beautified area. Gardens also offer a place where children and
adults alike can find hands on education about the actual origin of some of the foods they eat
and what care is needed to ensure a healthy harvest.

Community gardens provide food, but as importantly, they are ‘seeding’ grounds
for neighborhood revitalization, social and economic self-empowerment, micro-
enterprises, social interaction, and neighborhood beautification. They are also
sources of environmental awareness, especially for children, and bring the elderly
and children together. Gardens provide recreation and exercise and have proven
value as therapy for ill and mentally handicapped people.
http://www.cce.ufl.edu/past/commgardens/

Community gardens help guarantee the mental, physical and emotional health of the
community that they serve. Documented research shows a positive correlation between a
person’s relation with green areas and their physical, emotional and mental well being. In a
densely populated urban area, a garden can act as a green urban oasis where residents can
spend time unwinding, relaxing and reducing their stress. These mental and emotional health
benefits are as important to a population’s well -being as the food that they eat.

“Hunger Task Force recognizes the important role that community gardening and urban agriculture have
in our local food system. Fostering local agricultural initiatives and supporting sustainable food sources
adds value to our community. Educating people, especially children, on how to garden teaches them
respect for food choices and value for our local food system. Community gardens provide opportunities
for urban households to grow healthy, nutritious foods.”
-Sherry Tussler, Executive Director, Hunger Task Force of Milwaukee

Food security is an issue that deserves attention in many modern cities, including Milwaukee.
To offer the urban poor an opportunity to grow, harvest and eat highly nutritious and tasty
produce for very little cost is a great benefit to the city as a whole.

In all, the so called “soft values” that gardens contribute are broad in scope, critical to a city’s
vitality and often times undervalued or overlooked merely because they are difficult to quantify.
There is more than one way to achieve many of them – this report seeks to demonstrate how a
community garden addresses all of them. Appendix A of this report explores these “soft
values” to a greater extent, showing where some of these values have been or can be
measured or quantified, demonstrating the legitimate value that these elements have and how
community gardens add to, benefit, enhance or create them.
25

COMMUNITY GARDENING AND COMMUNITY GARDEN POLICIES IN OTHER CITIES

As shown in previous sections of this document, community gardens are not a new urban form.
In a 1996 Survey done by the American Community Gardening Association, 38 cities reported
having 6,020 community gardens. Given this, there are municipalities that have dealt with
community gardens. This section will focus on 11 cities with community gardens and
established community garden policies. The cities chosen for comparison are located in the
Midwest and/or had populations at or below Milwaukee. The cities that share a Mid-Western
location with the City of Milwaukee are:

• Madison, Wisconsin Number of Community Gardens


• Chicago, Illinois
• Minneapolis, 700
Minnesota 600
600
• Columbus, Ohio
500
• Des Moines, Iowa
• Philadelphia, 400
Pennsylvania 300 250

200
The remaining cities with a 126
100 72 57 56 56 46 45 25
population at or below 17 16.5
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Gardens per 10,000 People In comparison with these cities


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3.95
4
near the middle. In terms of raw
3.5 3.29

3 2.82 2.76 number of gardens Milwaukee


ranks 5th above Des Moines,
2.5

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26

many garden each city has, but does not provide a basis for comparison. What is a more
compelling statistic is the number of gardens per ten-thousand people there are for each city.
The basis of computing gardens per ten thousand people is so it remains comparable, yet adds
more recent statistics, to a widely referenced survey conducted by the American Community
Garden Association Survey published in 1998.

Out of the 11 other cities Milwaukee ranks 7th with 0.95 community gardens per ten-thousand
people below Berkeley, California and above Seattle, Washington. What makes this statistic so
compelling is that there are cities with less “investment” in community gardens, but have
enacted policies to protect them anyway. These municipalities have different ways of
recognizing community gardens, and there are varying levels of effectiveness for each
legislation type. The most common types of legislation are listed below in order of their
effectiveness from lowest to highest for protecting the long-term stability of community
gardens.

• Economic Development Policy: This language recognizes the value of pursuing certain
land uses for future development of a municipality. It is a directive to staff to allow where
it sees fit to include a wider range of interim uses for vacant parcels. Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania and Spokane, Washington take this approach toward community gardens.

• Leases: A lease is a contract granting use or occupation of property during a specified


period in exchange for a specified rent. Des Moines, Iowa uses leases.

• Resolution: A resolution is a formal declaration by governing body opposing or


supporting an issue. It may contain or may not contain legislation directing the
municipality to take certain actions. Chicago, Illinois; Seattle, Washington; and Madison,
Wisconsin have resolutions.

• Zoning: This legislation implements the Comprehensive Plan of a municipality. Zoning


ordinances lead development to the desired scenario for the future described in the
Comprehensive Plan. Boston, Massachusetts; Portland, Oregon; Columbus, Ohio; and
Minneapolis, Minnesota have zoning language for community gardens.

• Comprehensive Plans: These documents guide the future shape of a municipality by


describing a desired scenario for the future. Based upon the findings for the scenario
different goals are set to attain it. However, these plans guide the future they are not
law. Berkeley, California has language directed at community gardening.
27

What follows is a contextual review of policies for each of the listed cities. Within each section
polices are ordered as above from least effective to most effective in terms of long-term
stability for community gardening. Complete policy excerpts can be found in Appendix D

~ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT POLICY~

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Since 1974, the Philadelphia Horticultural Society (PHS), under the project name Philadelphia
Green, has been the lead advocate of community gardening in Philadelphia. They view their
work as not simply vegetable gardening, but as neighborhood revitalization. Of the
approximately 590,000 parcels in Philadelphia 35,000 are vacant, or 6% of the total parcels.
Philadelphia Green’s goal is to maintain vacant land until a productive use can be found. As a
part of this effort, the Philadelphia Horticultural Society has established some 3,000 community
garden in their 29 year existence and continues to support approximately 600 gardens.

Within the City of Philadelphia Code of Ordinances is language that supports the PHS’s
development of community gardens. It reads, “the Department shall work cooperatively with
other city and city-related agencies on any plans for the acquisition, disposition and re-use of
vacant lots including, but not limited to: community development, housing, neighborhood
gardening, landscaping, play areas, side yards, or any other legal uses.” (City of Philadelphia
2002)

Although supporting, the City’s language is ineffective in protecting community gardens. The
policy states that “the Department shall work cooperatively with other city or city-related
agencies.” The generic specification of “the Department” as a contact makes it difficult to
understand who is responsible for working with community gardens. One has to search for a
definition of “the Department” within Subtitle 4 to find it is the Department of Licenses and
Inspection.

Also, PHS is not a city agency and may not be considered a city-related agency. No definition
is given for city-related; it is a matter of interpretation. What this means is that any outside
organization that may wish to garden would be prevented from doing so. In effect it protects the
City from having to promote community gardening at all.
28

This policy type was not meant as a long-term protection tool. In line with this is the ordering of
preferred uses of vacant lots, “community development, housing, neighborhood gardening…”
This policy views community gardening as an interim and tertiary use to community
development and housing.

Numbers support such interpretations. Community gardens in Philadelphia have experienced a


decline. Since 1996 garden estimates have fallen from approximately 1100 to 600, a 54% drop.
(American Community Gardening Association, 1998) This loss is not due exclusively to
development pressure. It is a combination of development, garden leadership problems, and
lack of youth gardening programs. Philadelphia has also undergone a population shift. A
population that was once rurally-based has raised urban children with no sense of the rural.
Despite these challenges, Philadelphia maintains 3.95 gardens per ten-thousand people.

Spokane, Washington

Since 1996, Spokane Community Garden has established individual home site gardens on
properties. In July of 2002, Spokane Community Gardens was taken over by Second Harvest
Food Bank of Inland Northwest. In Spokane Community Garden’s seven-year history, 500 4’ x
8’ plots were established that fed 870 residents. (Second Harvest Food Bank of Inland
Northwest, 2003) This year there are 50 plots on 39 privately-owned properties. Skyler York,
an AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteer, was brought on in February 2003 to expand the program. Two
shared community gardens are planned for this year adding to the two existing shared
community gardens in city parks. This brings the total of community gardens in Spokane to fifty-
six, and provides 2.76 gardens per ten-thousand people.

An interview with York revealed that City of Spokane regards community gardens positively.
Any vacant lot can be used if an organization has interest. York related this was a part of urban
beautification legislation several years back. The legislation to which York refers:

“The city council finds the City owns certain unused vacant property which would not be
harmed and would be benefited if put to use by volunteers, without cost, for private
gardens. The city engineer or his designee is authorized to issue permits to private
citizens authorizing them to enter designated areas of vacant municipal property, to
remove debris and litter therefrom and to plant gardens thereon.” (City of Spokane,
2002)
29

The Spokane policy expresses support for community gardens and shows it. The legislation
specifically targets “private gardens” and “gardens.” A clear contact person is defined, the city
engineer or his designee, to issue permits to private citizens. Additionally, this policy is
bolstered by an incentive for private citizens. In return for the development of unused vacant
land private citizens are allowed to use them at no cost. However, for all the advantages of this
policy the Spokane policy was not meant as a long-term protection tool. Although Spokane
views community gardening as a beneficial use, there is no further policy to protect it as a
permanent use.

~LEASES~
Des Moines, Iowa

For five years the Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department has run The Des Moines
Community Gardening Association, a program that actively recruits, instructs, and provides
technical support for community gardening participants. In 2001, The Des Moines Community
Gardening Association had supported 56 community gardens; this number remained steady
through 2002. (Des Moines Community Gardening Association, 2001) This gives Des Moines
citizens access to 2.82 gardens per ten-thousand.

The Des Moines Community Gardening Association issues one-year renewable leases.
According to the Des Moines Municipal Code, the leases are issued through the City Engineer
to community gardening organizations. (City of Des Moines, 2002) Community Gardening
Coordinator Teva Dawson works with community garden organizations in advance of the lease
signing to ensure there is a responsible lessee placed on the vacant lot. With this policy there is
established language in the Municipal Code that the City Engineer will issue garden leases.
This proves the City willingly recognizes gardens as a legitimate use as does the city-run
program, the Des Moines Community Garden Association.

The leases that are a result of this legislation add additional protection for both the City and
community gardeners. There is a written agreement that both the community gardeners and the
City adhere to for at least a year, if not more if the lease is renewed. However, as Dawson
states, “The city wants to maintain control over the properties in case they would like to sell or
develop them.” What this means is that City of Des Moines still views community gardens as
interim uses, not permanent
30

~RESOLUTION~

Chicago, Illinois

NeighborSpace, an award winning not-for-profit, was created in 1996 by the Daley


administration to transform tax-delinquent properties into small garden and parks. (The Onion
Grass Roots Network, 2003)The program creates a land bank where the City of Chicago
transfers properties for as little as $1.00 to NeighborSpace. NeighborSpace then finds
community groups or businesses to manage the sites. Since its establishment 72 gardens and
21 acres have been transformed. (City of Chicago Office of the Mayor, 2003) Chicago residents
have access to 0.25 gardens per ten thousand.

Lenny Librizzi, author of “Comprehensive Plans, Zoning Regulations, Open Space Policies and
Goals Concerning Community Gardens and Open Green Space from the Cities of Seattle,
Berkeley, Boston, and Chicago,” calls NeighborSpace “the most far reaching method of open
space protection.”

Regional Chicago came to a twenty-year intergovernmental agreement that allocates funding for
small urban open spaces and a policy to protect them. What is lacking is an amendment of
development and planning documents to further protect these spaces—zoning code and
comprehensive plan language. The Chicago Zoning Ordinance last updated in 1957 does not
have provisions for Park and Open Space. Currently, Mayor Daley is proposing a series of
changes to the Zoning Code to correct a lack of open space in urban Chicago. In the proposal
community gardens would be permitted in parks and open space, residential, commercial, and
manufacturing districts.(City of Chicago Office of the Mayor, 2003)

Madison, Wisconsin

There has been a long history of community gardening in Madison, Wisconsin. Community
gardens can be traced back to 1912. At the time of publication of “Growing a Stronger a
Community with Community Gardens: An Action Plan for Madison” in 2000 there were 16.5
gardens within the city limits, which provides 0.79 gardens per ten thousand people.
31

In 1990, the City Council adopted language that was to encourage incorporation of community
gardening into the zoning regulation. As a part of this process, a task force was formed to make
a report to the City Council. No report was ever made; no action was ever taken.

In 1997 Alderperson Barbara Vedder sponsored Resolution 23429 recognizing a community


garden and forming the creation of a second taskforce entitled the “Advisory Committee on
Community Gardens.” The taskforce reported to the City Council and their report entitled
“Growing a Stronger Community with Community Gardens: An Action Plan for Madison” and its
recommendations were approved with no opposing votes via Resolution 56757. A number of
recommendations were approved, among which were:

• Creation of zoning language for community gardens


• Incorporation into the City’s comprehensive and parks and open space plans
• Funding of a position in the Mayor’s office for a Community Garden Coordinator (Raja,
2000)

However, there are a number of actions by the City Council that undermined the Action Plan.
The major changes were:

• The Action Plan was approved, but not adopted into City policy. Meaning this was not
made apart of city law.
• A clause was added which reads, “Whereas nothing in this resolution shall be
considered a mandate or a directive for the expenditure or for the creation of positions.”
Additionally, the recommendation that office space and equipment be provided from
Mayor’s office was removed by a friendly amendment to Resolution 56757. (City of
Madison, 1999) What this means is a position for Garden Coordinator did not have to be
created, and no expense has to be made toward the position.
• The recommendation to “amend zoning ordinances as a permitted use in all zoning
districts” was changed to “consider and propose amendments to the zoning ordinance
as a permitted or condition use in all zoning districts.” No action has to be taken to add
community gardening to city law.
• A recommendation requiring the Planning Unit “insure that the use of adjacent land
parcels will be compatible with community gardens…” was changed to “Planning Unit is
requested to: evaluate any proposal changes on the use of adjacent land parcels for the
compatibility with community gardens.”(Raja, 2000) Instead of telling the Planning Unit to
insure compatibility with community gardens, the Planning Unit is asked to look into it.

Further action has been taken as recently of February 2003 on the Action Plan. Two
resolutions, 32277 and 33464, have been passed since. The first dissolves the adhoc
committee and forms a committee that is staffed by the Mayor’s Office; the second places a
32

section entitled Community Garden Committee into the City of Madison General Ordinances.
The purpose of the committee is to act as a sounding board for community gardening issues
and/or the implementation of the Action Plan recommendations. (City of Madison 2002)

The creation of a formal Community Garden Committee is another step in the right direction for
Madison. However, Madison has yet to create zoning language to complement their
Comprehensive Plan, which is required by Wisconsin Smart Growth legislation. (State of
Wisconsin Office of Land Information Services, 2001) Without the zoning language to back up
the Comprehensive Plan the portions that refer to community gardens could taken out if taken to
court.

Seattle, Washington

Seattle’s P-Patch Program began in 1971 when a University of Washington student started a
pilot project to teach young people to grow vegetables. Human Services took over the program
in 1974, and the program was once again moved in 1997 to the Department of Neighborhoods
Community Building Division. A unique partnership between the Friends of P-Patch, the City,
and volunteers maintain 46 community gardens located throughout Seattle.(Pernitz and
Goodlett, 2001) In Seattle, 0.82 gardens per ten thousand are provided to the citizens.

Resolution 28610 supports the long-term expansion and maintenance of the P-Patch Program.
Also, it recommends inclusion of community gardens into the Comprehensive Plan. In areas of
medium and high density, covered under the Urban Centers Village, Urban Center, and Hub
Village Section of the Comprehensive Plan that “one dedicated community garden for each
2500 households be provided.” It further recommends “that any appropriate ordinances be
strengthened to encourage, preserve and protect community gardening.” (Librizzi, 1999) These
recommendations recognize community gardens as long-term uses within the City of Seattle.
Long-term continuation of the P-Patch Program also is evidence that community gardens are
viewed as more than interim uses, but as integral places within neighborhoods.
Like Madison, Seattle must work to incorporate gardens into the zoning ordinance as a
recognized permitted use within their medium and high density residential areas as Resolution
28610 recommends. A review of the Seattle Municipal Code finds that gardens are not
mentioned within it. (City of Seattle, 2002)
33

~ZONING~

Portland, Oregon

The Portland Parks and Recreation Department Community Gardens Program has been in
existence since 1975. The Parks and Recreation Department rents or helps rent out plots on
roughly 14 acres of land. In total it owns or supports 25 community gardens throughout
Portland; providing 0.47 gardens per ten thousand residents. (City of Portland Parks and
Recreation 2003)

Community gardens are recognized within the City of Portland Zoning Code. They are
permitted as conditional and permitted uses within the Open Space Category. Community
gardens are conditionally permitted in Retail Sales and Service, Commercial Outdoor
Recreation, Basic Utilities, Community Service, Parks and Open Areas, Schools, Daycares,
Mining, Radio Tower Transmission Facilities, and Rail Line and Utility Corridors. As permitted
uses they are permitted in the Agriculture district. (City of Portland Oregon Bureau of Planning,
2002)

This policy recognizes community gardens in a host of different districts; however, it views them
in a limited manner. In 12 of the 13 districts community gardens are only allowed as conditional
uses. Each time a community garden is proposed it must be brought before the Plan
Commission and City Council. As a result it may be a hindrance to develop community gardens
on a wider basis. Additionally, there is no reference to community gardens in the Portland
Comprehensive Plan, the long-term vision for Portland. (City of Portland Oregon Bureau of
Planning, 1999)

Columbus, Ohio

The City of Columbus subsidizes a portion of the Growing to Green Program based out of the
Franklin Park Conservatory. Growing to Green is an organization that was started in 2000 to
promote urban and community gardening in Columbus. It provides technical assistance,
training, grant funding, and an awards program. There are 45 community gardens in the
Columbus area, providing 0.63 gardens per ten-thousand people. Twenty-four more community
gardens will be started in the next 2 ½ years. (Dawson, 2003)
34

This language allows gardens as permitted uses in residential and rural districts, “An agricultural
use, farm, field crops, garden, greenhouse, nursery and a truck garden.” (City of Columbus,
2003) It designates gardens as a permitted use, but provides a limited development area for
community gardens. A follow-up phone call with the Planning Department on May 1, 2003
shows that although community gardens are allowed, they must be brought before the Planning
Commission for approval.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

As with many municipalities, community gardening began in Minneapolis in the 1970s as the
urban revitalization movement took hold. Sustainable Resources Center (SRC) worked with
Minneapolis Community Development Agency (MCDA) to provide leases for community
gardening on vacant land. In 2000, MCDA moved to sell the vacant lots. SRC worked with
MCDA to develop a policy to temporarily halt land sales, so community gardeners could amass
funding to buy their gardens. SRC and the Green Institute worked with Public Land Trust to buy
12 community gardens on 9 properties. (Sustainable Resources Center, Unknown)

Community gardens are a recent addition to the City of Minneapolis Municipal Code and are
protected as permitted uses in residential, office, commercial, and industrial districts.
Minneapolis’ Municipal Code allows great flexibility in the location of community gardens within
the city; however, the process is a burden. Community garden organizations must go through
an application process to obtain a zoning certificate and must provide parking and adhere to site
development standards. (Municode, 2003)

The City of Minneapolis, also, acknowledges in “The Minneapolis Plan: the City of Minneapolis’
Comprehensive Plan” that there is work left to be done:

Community gardens, stormwater management campaigns, local business-to-business


economic transactions, skills exchanges and tool libraries are some of the programs that
have been put into practice in neighborhoods across the city. We must absorb some of
the lessons emerging from the work undertaken by community groups and private
groups as well as non-profit sector stakeholders.(City of Minneapolis, 2000)

Additionally, Corrie Zoll of the Green Institute confirms Minneapolis political leaders are taking
further steps to create an established community gardening program.
35

Boston, Massachusetts

The City of Boston has had organized support for community gardens since at least 1977.
Boston Natural Areas Network (BNAN) is an organization that seeks to expand and better urban
open space through ownership, acquisition, programs, and technical assistance. It owns a
quarter of the 250 community gardens in Boston. (Boston Areas Natural Network, 2002)This
provides Boston residents with 4.24 gardens per ten-thousand people.

The City of Boston has created a special district for Open Space in which community gardens
are included. The Open Space Subdistrict has some flexibility whereby the district may be used
as an “overlay,” meaning that the land contained within the OS Subdistrict is not permanently
designated. This allows the City of Boston some flexibility in rezoning the land without costly
and timely changes to the zoning map, which must go through Plan Commission and the
Common Council. (Raja, 2000)

What this means for community gardening is that within in any district the OS Subdistrict may be
applied. For the duration that community garden exists it is protected as long as it is owner
occupied. Leased gardens still must work within the bounds of their agreement with their
landlord.

~COMPREHENSIVE PLAN~

Berkeley, California

The City of Berkeley has a sordid history with community gardens. “People’s Park” was started
in the 1960s by people in protest to the University of Berkeley leaving a cleared neighborhood
vacant. The local paper invited people to build a garden on the University property. In 1969,
the University “took” back their land and bulldozed the garden. Thousands gathered, the
National Guard was called in, and violence erupted. One person was killed, one was blinded,
and many were injured. In the 1990s the University once again tried and failed to reuse the
land. Currently, People’s Park is maintained and managed by the University. (City of Berkeley,
2003) Within Berkeley there are 16 other gardens, which provide residents with 1.65 gardens
per ten thousand. (City of Berkeley Department of Planning and Development, 2003)
36

Berkeley is unique in its set up of their comprehensive plan. There a number of well-defined
goals to protect community gardens as open space and as a source of local food. These goals
recognize community gardens as a desirable land use and propose ways to encourage and
support community gardening activities. (City of Berkeley, 2003) However, the City of Berkeley
fails to come full circle with their long-term goals in that there is no implementation tool within
there zoning code.

POLICY OPTIONS AND EVALUATIONS FOR MILWAUKEE

The following is a list of the alternatives that were considered to secure the long term stability of
community gardens in Milwaukee. Polices are ordered as above from least effective to most
effective in terms of long-term stability for community gardening.

• No Action – Under this alternative it is assumed that the long term stability of
community gardens in Milwaukee does not need to be addressed, or that policies are
already in place that adequately protect the long term stability of community gardens. This
alternative would recommend not pursuing policy options dealing with the long term stability
of community gardens.

• Lease Agreements – Currently, the city offers to lease their land to non-profit
organizations for $1 per year for the development of an urban garden. At this time, leases
are drafted on a case-by-case basis. Under this alternative, a model long-term lease would
be developed of 5, 10, or 20 years to be potentially renewed into perpetuity if certain
conditions, developed and agreed upon through discussions between the city and non-profit
gardening groups, are met.

• Zoning Code Modifications – Change current zoning language to include


“community gardens” as a permitted use in areas zoned residential, industrial and
parks/open space.
37

• Comprehensive Plan Additions – Under Wisconsin legislation (Smart Growth), all


cities must adopt a comprehensive plan by 2010. The comprehensive plan is to serve as a
guideline for the development of the city. Under this alternative, planning staff would be
encouraged to include community gardens as an element in their comprehensive plan.

~ALTERNATIVE EVALUATIONS~

Criterion were identified and used to explore how each alternative would achieve the objectives
of this report. The following are the criterion chosen. A brief description is given for each as to
what merits they offer as criterion.

Alternatives protects gardens for at least two years


Will this alternative secure community garden’s stability for a period of least two years?

Alternative provides compensation for garden taking


This alternative has as a component a compensatory element that returns to the gardening
organization/gardeners some of the loss that would be incurred if their garden is taken for
development.

Legal Recourse
How much legal recourse does a gardening organization have in the case of a legal dispute
under this alternative?

Policy stability
As a policy, is this alternative likely to weather well through time?

Evaluation Scorecard
The following table depicts how well each alternative met the criteria set out in previous section.
For the first two criteria the alternative was judged on whether it met the criteria (1) or didn’t
meet the criteria (0). For the last two criteria the four alternatives were rated against each other
for how well they met the criteria (3 = best, 0 = worst).
38

Alternative protects Alternative provides


gardens for at least two compensation for garden Legal Policy
years taking Recourse stability Total
No Action 0 0 0 0 0
Comprehensive
Plan Additions 1 1 1 2 5
Garden Leases 0 0 2 1 3
Zoning Code
Modification 1 1 3 3 8

~ALTERNATIVE 1: NO ACTION~

Under this alternative it is assumed that the long term stability of community gardens in
Milwaukee does not need to be addressed, or that policies are already in place that adequately
protect the long term stability of community gardens. This alternative would not recommend
pursuing in other avenues dealing with the long term stability of community gardens.

Gardens protected for at least two years


The no action alternative does not provide any protection for gardens for any time frame.

Compensation for garden taking


Currently no policy exists that compensates for the loss of community gardens. “No action”
would not change this.

Legal recourse
“No Action” has no legal enforceability; therefore, it was given the lowest value for this criterion.

Policy stability
There is no policy stability in a “No Action” alternative; therefore, it was given the lowest value
for this criterion.
39

~ALTERNATIVE 2: LEASE AGREEMENTS~

Currently, the city offers to lease their land to non-profit organizations for $1 per year for the
development of an urban garden. At this time, leases are drafted on a case-by-case basis.
Under this alternative, a model long-term lease would be developed of 2, 5, 10, or 20 years to
be potentially renewed into perpetuity if certain conditions, developed and agreed upon through
discussions between the city and non-profit gardening groups, are met.

Gardens protected for at least two years


Leases could protect gardens for at least two years. Model leases could be developed for terms
of five, ten, or in some instances twenty years.

Compensation for garden taking


Current leases in Milwaukee do not have compensation clauses included in the language of the
lease. Compensatory actions could be negotiated into leases with willing parties.

Legal recourse
Leases provide legal recourse if there are infractions by either party on the lease. However, it
should be noted that the legality of the lease will depend on how well it was crafted. Also, it is
possible for different lawyers and judges to interpret the details contained in leases in conflicting
ways. Therefore, what may seem like an air tight legal lease could in fact be proven to be
invalid during litigation. For these reasons this alternative was rated as a one (some legal
recourse but not as significant as the other alternatives).

Policy stability
Leases provided the least policy stability, with the exception of no action. Without a set-in-place
program or legislation leases could be abandoned with change of administration; therefore, this
alternative was rated as a one (some policy stability but not as significant as the other
alternatives).
40

~ALTERNATIVE 3: ZONING CODE MODIFICATIONS ~

The Zoning Code Modifications will change current zoning language to include “community
gardens” as a permitted use in areas zoned residential, industrial and parks/open space.

Gardens protected for at least two years


Including community gardens as a permitted use in the zoning code would in effect protect
gardens in perpetuity, unless the language was taken out of the zoning code. Generally, zoning
for community gardens would protect them in perpetuity; when legislation is set in place it must
run through a process to overturn it. A property owner is clearly in a legally defensible position if
they are using their property for the purposes of a community garden (see policy stability).

Compensation for garden taking


Though the actual inclusion of compensatory measures will not be included at this time in the
zoning code modifications, the importance of such measures help to ensure that the taking of
gardens for other uses is considered more seriously. In the case of land ownership, eminent
domain is one tool the city could use to take a community garden. If compensatory options are
available regarding community gardens (by replacing gardens locally at a 1:1, 2:1 ratio or
through costs or other means), the gardens themselves may be moved or even increased
instead of eliminated if taken through eminent domain. Typical “market value” compensation for
an eminent domain taking does not include the loss of a season’s produce or the labor that went
in to creating the garden.

Legal recourse
After exploring all of the alternatives suggested in this paper, Zoning Modification offers the
strongest position if legal recourse would become an issue. As a “permitted use”, a community
garden must be allowed to operate within particular zones in accordance with the zoning code.
As mentioned earlier, eminent domain is the only reason that the city could take claim to the
land; the more common cases of a “higher and better uses” coming along could not threaten the
gardens as they have in the past, without having to provide compelling evidence that they are
clearly for the public good.
41

Legal recourse is made available to both community garden organizations and the City. Just as
takings without just compensation or other legal encroachments would allow community garden
groups the ability to take the City to court, zoning requirements for site maintenance would
provide the City enforcement powers over the gardens.

Policy stability
This alternative is by far the most stable. Leases can be changed on a case by case basis.
The zoning code, on the other hand, must go through a longer and more arduous process to
change, and municipalities are less likely to find a persuasive cause to change zoning codes
once they have been established. In the city of Milwaukee, zoning changes require a public
hearing, which would likely gather a swell of disgruntled gardeners and garden supporters and
this would likely want to be avoided by city officials.

~ALTERNATIVE 4: COMPREHENSIVE PLAN ADDITIONS ~

Under Wisconsin legislation (Smart Growth), all cities must adopt a comprehensive plan by
2010. The comprehensive plan is to serve as a guideline for the development of the city. Under
this alternative, planning staff would be encouraged to include community gardens as an
element in their comprehensive plan as a part of the Agriculture, Natural, and Cultural
Resources element. This element recommends conserving and promoting the effective
management of open spaces and cultural resources.

Gardens protected for at least two years


Comprehensive plan language would provide acknowledgement and support for community
gardens by recognizing them as a part of Milwaukee’s future. Comprehensive plans are usually
developed for periods of 10 to 20 years, at which point they are reviewed and updated. Smart
Growth legislation in Wisconsin will require the comprehensive plan to be updated every 10
years. The zoning ordinance is the implementation tool for comprehensive plans.

Compensation for garden taking


Comprehensive plans are designed to be broad in nature and do not include language for
compensation.
42

Legal recourse
Comprehensive plans would provide no legal recourse as they are development guides, not
laws; however, by 2010 if there is something specified in the comprehensive plan and it not
reflected in the zoning ordinance, the plan may be overturned (vice versa). Since legal recourse
will come into play in 2010 this alternative was rated as a one for this criterion.

Policy stability
Comprehensive plans would provide some stability given the above statement and that they are
long-term in nature; therefore, this alternative was rated as a two for this criterion.

PROCEDURES FOR THE FUTURE

I. ADD COMMUNITY GARDENS AS A PERMITTED USE IN THE ZONING CODE

Community gardens have not been recognized in any official document or policy in a protective
manner in Milwaukee. As an extension of the permitted “raising of crops and livestock,”
community gardens have been allowed in residential, industrial and parks/open-space districts.
Yet community gardens have never been expressly permitted. This is a threat to there
permanency in the community. Until some legal foothold is secured, their future remains
uncertain.

A meeting with Zoning Code Task Force representatives, initiated by MUG and this team
resulted in the addition of community gardens to the Milwaukee Zoning Code. This language
specifically recognizes community gardens as a permitted, permanent use. Community
gardens will be permitted in residential, industrial, and parks and open space districts. The
language that the Zoning Code Task Force adopted on March 6th, 2003 reads:

“RAISING OF CROPS AND LIVESTOCK means the growing of crops, including any farm,
orchard, COMMUNITY GARDEN (ADD) or other establishment used for the growing of
crops....etc, etc.”
43

Another series of approvals from Plan Commission and a subcommittee to the Common Council
on April 29, 2003 and May 6, 2003 respectively, leaves one more approval to gain. On May
13th, 2003 the Milwaukee Common Council is expected to approve the addition of community
gardens to the Zoning Code. This will officially make community gardens a part of City law.

The successful adoption of this new language is a great and necessary step for community
gardens long-term stability in Milwaukee. The expressed permitted use of community gardens
provides an important legal base and foothold from which MUG can move forward.

II. ADD A DEFINITION OF COMMUNITY GARDENS TO THE ZONING CODE

How community gardens are defined should be the next step MUG takes. Conversations with
City staff revealed that they may consider adding a definition of community gardens to the
Milwaukee Zoning Code. MUG should pursue the adoption of a broad definition of community
gardens, so the diverse uses of community gardens are recognized legally.

A focus group on April 5, 2003 centered on how to define a community garden. This definition
provided adopted in Madison, Wisconsin was suggested by the focus group participants. This
definition is broad enough to include the variety of services that a community garden provides.

“Community gardens are common grounds for growing plants that feed, heal and give aesthetic
pleasure. They are civic spaces where people work and recreate to nourish themselves, their
families and friends; the gardeners shared labor also builds a stronger sense of belonging to
their physical environment and connection to other gardeners. Community gardens are the
collective effort of people with patience and determination to make things grow.”

The above definition is a starting point, and should be modified to reflect the differences in
gardening as it exists in Milwaukee. Such a definition should then be proposed for adoption into
the zoning code by MUG in the near future.
44

III. REESTABLISH THE GARDEN COALITION

MUG has stated that they are interested in reviving the defunct Garden Coalition. This is
recognized as a very strong move for MUG for several reasons.

First, it is important to coordinate the many garden activities and participants into an identified
garden community. Such a community-of-interest will facilitate networking, event planning and
generate greater support and attention once it is recognized that such a group exists whose
members are active in several garden-supporting activities across the city. An active Garden
Coalition is a significant tool for promoting urban gardens and community development through
the solicitation of neighborhood organizations and associations as members, participants, and
partners.

Second, it will further MUG’s roll as liaison between urban gardeners and city officials. Already,
MUG has stepped forward to be the contact representative between the City and Riverwest for
a brownfield-to-greenspace grant for Garden Park. The City recognizes the positive roll MUG
has played. This sort of positive positioning as a leading organization for Milwaukee’s
community gardens will help MUG advance its goals.

Third, by acting as liaison for the Garden Coalition to city officials, MUG will firm its position with
the City that gardens have an established and wide constituency. As MUG revives the garden
coalition, we suggest that the following four actions are pursued with coalition input and support:

A. ADOPT COMMUNITY GARDENS INTO THE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN

In 2010, Smart Growth legislation will mandate that every municipality’s zoning code and
comprehensive plan are synched. Any discrepancies are legally challengeable, and if
‘community gardens’ are specifically permitted in the zoning code in Milwaukee, but not
mentioned in the comprehensive plan, this valuable legal foothold could be lost.
45

Community Gardens would be an option to fulfill the Smart Growth ‘Parks and Open Space’
required element. This element recommends ‘conserving and promoting the effective
management of open spaces and cultural resources’ and will be mandated by law by 2010.
In order to get “Community Gardens” into the City’s comprehensive plan, it is recommended that
MUG and the Garden Coalition actively promote that community gardens be considered in
individual comprehensive neighborhood plans, as these are what will inform the master
comprehensive plan. If there are Garden Coalition members who are representative of several
different neighborhoods in Milwaukee, these respective planning area’s residents should
encourage planners for each of these neighborhoods to consider adopting community gardens
into their comprehensive plans. Phone calls, emails, letters and attending neighborhood
planning meetings will send a clear message to the planners that Community Gardens deserve
consideration in the Comprehensive Plan.

B. CREATE A MODEL LEASE

It is recognized that MUG will not always be able to purchase garden parcels outright due to
lack of funds or other obstacles. As this is likely to be the case for some time, it is
recommended that a Model Lease be developed which is easily replicable from one interested
gardening group to another. Such a lease should consider maintenance guidelines (as
suggested above or as defined by MUG) and a “HOLD HARMLESS” clause. These leases
should be for a minimum of two years (some could be as aggressive as 5, 10 or 20 years) and
pursued for parcels identified through the next recommended process. This lease agreement
should be attractive to both the city and gardening groups.

C. MAP OUT POTENTIAL GARDEN SITES IN COOPERATION WITH THE CITY

It is recommended that MUG identify parcels for potential future garden development in
cooperation with city officials on a map which has eliminated parcels that are potentially
developable in the next several (10-12) years. The remaining parcels stand the least chance of
being “taken” for development by the city.
46

By pursuing these steps together, MUG and the Garden Coalition help to create a situation that
provides the greatest security for gardens on land which is being leased. While these gardens
are being developed and used by the neighborhood for several seasons, MUG has time to
amass funds necessary to purchase the land so that gardeners will not suffer the loss of there
labors and so that the community will not lose its great amenity to a house or small business.

D. PURSUE THE ADDITION OF COMPENSATION LANGUAGE

It is further recommended that MUG and the Garden Coalition consider exploring a
compensatory policy that could be tacked on to a lease agreement. This is, however, far from
appealing to the city. It is therefore strongly suggested that this issue be approached slowly and
tactfully. Ideally this will be done when a positive working relationship has been established by
MUG and the Garden Coalition.

A focus group April 5, 2003 was held to explore what just compensation would be. Suggestions
included a prepared site within 6 blocks, compensation for lost produce and materials used.
Much of the value of a community garden cannot be measured and is difficult to replace. It is
recommended that if such a compensatory policy be pursued that MUG and the Garden
Coalition explore a range of options, keeping in mind the limited return they can get for the loss
of a garden and the potential reluctance of the city at receiving such a suggestion.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

The authors of this report would like to thank Milwaukee Urban Gardens for their support and
encouragement throughout the past few months, the candid input from City staff about how
Community Gardens are perceived from their perspective, the input and support of the Hunger
task Force of Milwaukee, Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful, Jill Florence Lackey and
Associates, Growing Power, UW-Extension, and the UWM-SARUP Faculty and staff and all
others who helped contribute to this report with ideas, opinions and information.
47

APPENDIX A: COMMUNITY GARDENS ADD VALUE TO:

~C
CONSERVATION OF RESOURCES~

When food is grown and distributed locally, the need for shipping is virtually eliminated. This
translates into less consumption of fuel for trucks or ships and the refrigeration needed during
transport, less where on roadways and tires (which means less particulate in the air), and little
or no packing materials used.

Community gardens offer an easily accessible and highly affordable source for organic produce.
By growing produce without the use of pesticides and herbicides, less of these poisons are
released into the environment, which benefits the local ecology. Adults, elders and children who
consume these vegetables also benefit from the lack of pesticides, and this is further explored
under “Health”.

In a random survey of community gardeners in Milwaukee, Waukesha and Kenosha conducted


by Jill Florence lackey & Associates, 77% of gardeners said that they think organically grown
food is safer, 73% said they eat organically-grown food, and 54% said they grow their own food
organically.

Also, leaves in the fall can be used as compost in the gardens, thus saving room in a landfill and
saving taxpayer dollars.

~URBAN HEAT ISLAND~

Urban areas that have a high percentage of


hard surfaces give off a great amount of heat
in summer months. The overall impact is the
creation of an artificial environment that is
much hotter than the natural environment.
People living in these areas seek shelter in
the cool of air-conditioned buildings and
shade where available. This intensified heat
of an urban area is referred to as an Urban
Heat Island. NASA’s recent studies
regarding Urban Heat Islands recognize the
importance of green spaces in urban
environs: http://eetd.lbl.gov/HeatIsland/HighTemps/
Whereas an acre of forest or cropland receives as much sunlight as an acre of buildings, it
is well known that the green space will be cooler because of transpiration (water
evaporation) and shading of the ground. Typical urban surfaces, such as concrete and
asphalt, get much hotter than vegetated surfaces during the day. They store the energy
48

and release it at night, thus creating a dome of warmer air over the city. Thus, the "urban
heat island" causes increased air conditioning usage, as well as being directly related to
increased ozone formation, a major pollutant in our cities.
[http://www.ghcc.msfc.nasa.gov/overview/urban.html]

Reducing the heat island effect means increasing the percentage of green, particularly leafy
vegetation, as they cool temperatures through evapotranspiration. Evapotranspiration occurs
when plants secrete or "transpire" water through pores in their leaves--in a way, plants sweat
like people do. The water draws heat as it evaporates, cooling the air in the process
(http://eetd.lbl.gov/HeatIsland/Vegetation/Evapotranspiration.html). The effect is that plants
lower the immediately surrounding local temperature. Community gardens therefore not only
offer a cooler place to be in sweltering urban environs, but it contributes towards the reduction
of the overall urban heat island effect. A reduction in the overall heat island effect reduces the
need for air conditioning, saving on costs and energy. Community Gardens…
Make productive use of urban vacant land, providing
cooling, neighborhood composting and recycling of
organic wastes to create soil, water filtration and
absorption.*
Chicago City Hall’s Green Roof
A measurable example is Chicago’s City Hall green roof. Measurements
have shown that it is significantly cooler in green areas than on the paved or
tarred areas, even when the grasses have turned brown2.

On August 9, 2001, at 1:45 pm, when the temperature was in the 90's, the following
measurements were obtained:

City Hall Roof (paved) 126 -


130°F
City Hall Roof (planted) 91 -
119°F
County Roof (black tar) 169°F

Average Difference in
Temperature : 36.7°F

www.ci.chi.il.us/Environment/rooftopgarden/monitoringpage.html
49

Chicago City Hall’s green roof [www.ci.chi.il.us/Environment/rooftopgarden/monitoringpage.html]

~AIR QUALITY~

Increasing the percentage of green spaces in any urban environment helps to clean the air,
reduce carbon dioxide and add oxygen. Again, community gardens reduce the Urban Heat
island effect, which reduces the amount of ozone produced and carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in
our cities as a result. Every action we can take as a society to reduce the amount of CO2 in
the air could be helping us in greater ways than we might realize:

Over the last 400,000 years the Earth's


climate has been unstable, with very
significant temperature changes, going from a
warm climate to an ice age in as rapidly as a
few decades. These rapid changes suggest
that climate may be quite sensitive to internal
or external climate forcings and feedbacks. As
can be seen from the blue curve,
temperatures have been less variable during
the last 10 000 years. Based on the
incomplete evidence available, it is unlikely
that global mean temperatures have varied by
more than 1°C in a century during this period.
The information presented on this graph
indicates a strong correlation between carbon
dioxide content in the atmosphere and
temperature. A possible scenario:
anthropogenic emissions of GHGs could bring
the climate to a state where it reverts to the
highly unstable climate of the pre-ice age
period. Rather than a linear evolution, the
climate follows a non-linear path with sudden and dramatic surprises when GHG levels reach an as-yet
unknown trigger point. [http://www.grida.no/climate/vital/02.htm]

An “urban forest” refers to the distribution of trees in the built environment. Many studies have
been done to shop the positive effects of an urban forest. Though an urban garden does not
have all of the same properties as an urban forest, some of its features can be comparable
50

when reduced in scale. Jerry T. Lang explores the benefits an urban forest has on cities.
Here he discusses the positive effect of these green features in the city on air quality:

Shelter belts or dispersed urban tree cover [or in our case, community gardens versus a
vacant lot] can improve air quality several ways. Air turbulence caused by a large disruptive
surface, such as a planting of trees, mixes and dilutes polluted air with less polluted air,
deposits particulates and aerosols on leaves, allows gravity to settle particulates in less
turbulent air on the lee side of vegetation, and brings pollutants in contact with gas exchange
systems of leaves and soils. The Chicago study showed that city trees provided air cleansing
worth $9.2 million in 1991, and that large trees remove 60 to 70 times more pollution than
small ones. www.woolpert.com/news/articles/lang98.pdf

~WATER QUALITY~

Plants and the micro-organisms with which they symbiotically co-exist help to clean and filter
water as it percolates through the soil, recharging the ground water. The relationship between
plants, soil and water is extremely important for cleaning the water and recharging the water
table. The environmental protection agency has a program for children that explains this
process in simple terms:

…dissolved materials can move through soil and enter a groundwater aquifer. But soil and
plants have something of a dual role in this process. Depending on wether materials are
dissolved or suspended in the water, soils and plant roots can remove some or all of this
material as the water moves down through soil.
Most suspended materials will adhere to the soil. These may then be broken down and
used as food by the plants. Dissolved nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus,
chemically bond with some types of soil particles. They are then taken up by the plants,
thus removing them from the soil before they can enter the aquifer. For the plants, these
elements are food, for an aquifer, they are pollution.
[http://www.epa.gov/safewater/kids/plants.pdf ]

~SOIL~

This same symbiosis of mico-organisms and plants helps to create nutrient rich and healthy soil.
Methods called BIO REMEDIATION and PHYTO REMEDIATION is used to clean contaminated
soil because of this positive environmental effect that plants have. In this method of
environmental clean-up, beautifying (not edible) plants, often trees, are used to improve soil and
water quality at a tremendous cost savings when compared to other remediation alternatives if
time is allowed for their effectiveness.

Vegetation Cleans up Soil & Water (Great Plains/Rocky Mountain)


“Sites are often contaminated by heavy metals, organics, nutrients, and mixes of these three
pollutants. The Great Plains/Rocky Mountain HSRC has developed an effective process for
51

using vegetation to clean up soil and water. Trees planted at contaminated sites take up the
contaminants and retain them or convert them into harmless substances. The use of poplar trees
to clean up contaminants has produced savings of from $50,000 to $100,000 per acre at
municipal landfills.”
http://www.hsrc.org/hsrc/html/points.html

Additionally, on vacant pieces of land with significant slope, the roots of plants help to stabilize
soils, thereby reducing erosion and run-off. This keeps the soil in the lot and not in the street
during a rain or kicked up into the air with a wind.

~PLACE ENHANCING~

Urban environments depend on a fairly dense population. This population needs to be as


healthy as possible in order for the city as a whole to be healthy. Without a positive environment
to live in, many of the social woes often associated with poor urban environments may ensue.
Several elements of urban social fabric have to be activated and vibrant to ensure a positive
environment and a healthy society.
Community Gardens…
Are about community-building, neighborliness, the environment, local
self-sufficiency, healthy organic food, economic empowerment, and
improving the urban landscape of a community.*

One of the more obvious elements to be activated is youth. Unfortunately and all too often,
urban youth lack activities to busy their time or guidance to be mentored by. Community
gardens offer a helpful, stress relieving outdoor activity where young people can learn social
skills, find positive roll models in adults, and develop other positive personal attributes.
Community gardens also benefit from the energy of youth.

The Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens notes the following:

City farms and community gardens serve the needs of their communities, of which young
people play an important part. Young people bring with them energy, enthusiasm and a
willingness to learn. In return, community farms and gardens offer many ways for young
people to get more involved in their community.
In particular, city farms and community gardens offer different styles of learning for young
people. Opportunities to gain education in a formal setting include training schemes, school
visits and structured educational activities. There are also lots of opportunities to gain more
informal and social education - working alongside other members of the community to
develop social skills, learning by using animal husbandry or horticulture as a starting point
and opportunities for young people who do not achieve well or 'fit' in other situations. The
diversity within the city farming and community gardening movement means that projects
are able to meet the needs of a variety of young people, from aspiring vets to young people
excluded from school.
52

City farms and community gardens offer young people:


• A place to learn about the needs of others - animals, plants and people
• A place to be a valued volunteer and part of a community led project
• A place to learn practical and social skills
• A place to meet and work with a variety of people from the local community
• A place to access formal and informal education
• A place to grow in confidence

Somewhere to learn lots of new skills and gain experience:


• Learn how to look after animals and plants even though you're in the city
• Volunteer and gain work experience
• Work with the public
• Co-operate as a team made up of people with different abilities
• Have lots of fun without spending a lot of money
http://www.farmgarden.org.uk/People/young-people-and-city-farms/content.html

Another important element for a healthy community is a feeling of ownership and


responsibility, the feeling that “we made this happen”, which is strengthened by participation in
a community garden. Community gardens instill this feeling and are highly accessible to
everyone in the community. A proud community garden can serve as a gathering place for
urban neighborhoods.
Community Gardens…
Give older people a way to be productive, interact with, and
mentor and care for children.*

~BEAUTIFICATION~

Gardens beatify public spaces, enhancing the character of a neighborhood by creating an


amenity that is pleasing to look at as well as functioning as a gathering place. The
neighborhood enhancing that a garden can perform is eloquently recognized by Woody Dugan,
Executive Director, Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful, Inc. in the following quote:
"Through community development and garden partnerships, citizens, organizations and
businesses all work together and become empowered as they take ownership of their
neighborhoods by addressing these broken windows in our communities. Keep Greater
Milwaukee Beautiful believes by using the vacant lots in our community and turning them
into gardens, green spaces, and other uses for neighborhood children, these
neighborhoods will be transformed."
53

Garden Park

Here in Milwaukee, the residents of a Riverwest neighborhood reclaimed an abandoned vacant


lot and turned it into a community
garden. It is now colored with
wildflowers in the summer and
offers paths to walk on and
benches to sit on, and a sculpture
as an artistic centerpiece. The property has since doubled in
its value3, and surrounding businesses are reported to be experiencing a surge. The park is
used in the summertime as a farmers market, and has become a jewel of this Milwaukee
neighborhood.

A community garden used as a gathering place offers a local activity with healthy benefits
(clean air, sunshine) and an
opportunity for human
interaction (even when it is
just used for gardening).

~DIVERSITY~

Gardens serve a diverse group of people of various ethnic backgrounds and ages. The
randomly surveyed sample from Jill Florence Lackey and Associates showed the demographic
mix of gardeners shown in Figure x. When asked what the reasons were that gardeners
participated in a gardening program, 51% answered “to meet new people”.

21% 20% 9-17


7% European American
18-25
17%
Asian American 26-35
African American 11% 36-54

Hispanic/Latino 54+
61% 31%
15% 17%

Ethnicity Figure A Age Figure B

3
Today the land is valued by the City at $32,400, up from $16,200 in 2001
[www.riverwestcurrents.org/2002/September/000065.html]
54

Community gardens also service those with special needs. Accessible gardens offer a great
outdoor activity for individuals in wheelchairs. Adults and children with special emotional or
mental needs can find a rewarding activity in community gardening. Interaction with natural
environment is beneficial in several ways that will be explored further in the section on “Health”.

By creating a greater sense of ownership and pride, a community garden becomes a


tremendous service to the community as it drives away criminals and brings in family/community
activity. The satisfaction of accomplishment, the feeling of belonging, and sense of
responsibility can all be grown in a community garden, helping to create a meaningful place in
urban neighborhoods.

Community Gardens…
Have long been used as an additional form of healing for people who are ill and as
activities for the mentally handicapped.*

~CULTURE~

A community garden can become a place to share the diverse cultural experiences of
neighbors. It is also an important opportunity to keep alive the cultural heritage of some people
who may not have that opportunity without the garden. Jill Florence Lackey & Associates
interviewed gardeners on a variety of questions, including the reasons that they participated in a
gardening program. The answer, “To keep my cultural traditions” was selected third most
frequently (60% of the time) out of 10 possible answers (n=88). “Spend time with family” was
answered 49% of the time, suggesting the important role that gardening plays in passing on
cultural traditions from parent to child.
Community Gardens…
Provide the opportunities for everyone in a
neighborhood to be able to interact and
work together and learn about each other.*

~PHYSICAL HEALTH~

Community gardens offer a source of fresh vegetables for every participant and more. When
asked why they garden, “Fresher food” was the number one answer chosen by all gardeners
(68%, n = 123) and the number two answer selected was “exercise”. “To give food away” was
the answer 23% of the time [Lackey and Associates].
55

The nutritional benefits reported by Lackey and Associates were significant at less than or equal
to .001. They are as follows:
• Gardeners reported consuming more helpings of vitamin-rich vegetables in the
previous 24 hours than comparison participants
• Gardeners reported engaging in more physical exercises in the previous week
than comparison participants

Eating a healthy diet decreases risks for obesity, hunger or malnutrition and improves the
overall quality of life for the general urban population.

The reduction in pesticide related poisonings of children cannot be undervalued. The university
of Florida discusses this issue in an article discussing the importance of community gardens:

Pesticides and fertilizers used for agriculture cause serious


health problems, and their production and use contributes to
significant environmental degradation world-wide. Americans
use about 8.7 pounds of pesticides per person per year. The
American Association of Poison Control Centers reported that
79,000 children were involved in common household pesticide
poisonings or exposures in 1990. Organic community gardens
provide for healthy untreated food that can be eaten fresh
without the preservatives that are typically added to produce that
is shipped long distances.
http://www.cce.ufl.edu/past/commgardens/

Community Gardens…
Provide low-cost organic vegetables
and herbs.*

~MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH~

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and


not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. –World Health Organization

There is a body of research which supports the idea that an urban person’s connection with the
green environment has an affect on their health, productivity and well-being. Judith Heerwegan
cites the following in her paper “Green Buildings, Organizational success, and Occupant
productivity”:

Numerous studies in office buildings have found that people value daylight and prefer to
be near windows (Heerwagen and Orians, 1986: Collins 1975). Furthermore, there is
growing realization that being near a window can be psychologically and
56

physiologically beneficial, especially if the view contains natural features such as


trees and flowers. Studies by Roger Ulrich (summarized by Ulrich et al, 1991 and
Ulrich, 1993) and Rachel Kaplan (1992) show that visual contact with nature through
window views enhances mood, reduces stress, and promotes higher quality of
life.(Italics added)
[Building Research and Information, Vol. 28 (5), 2000:353-367, London, UK]

Community Gardens…
Are gathering places where people can meet for
relaxation and conversation and relief from the
stresses of everyday life.*

Research on the stress relief resulting from gardens shows very positive results:

Research sponsored by the Center for Health Design on the use and therapeutic benefits
of hospital gardens finds an overwhelmingly positive response from employees, patients,
and their families and friends. Of those who were observed and interviewed while in a
garden, 95 percent reported a therapeutic benefit. According to the study, this manifests
itself in employees being more productive, patients feeling better and having more
tolerance of medical procedures, and family and friends feeling relieved of stress.
http://www.brightdsl.net/~cuyahoga/benefits.html

Creating green areas in the urban environ that have flowers or other lush plants allows for the
general public and those with windows overlooking the garden to reap the psychological and
physiological benefits that they offer, however large or subtle.

~FOOD SECURITY~

Urban Food Security is a serious issue that any urban planner must contend with. Many
communities have pantries, churches and organizations which exist to meet the needs of the
urban population that is food-insecure, but these associations exist to address the symptoms of
a bigger problem: lack of resources for food. Community gardens address the problem directly
by providing a place where participants can grow their own food and be less dependant of food
banks and other alternatives. With such a self-regulated source of food, the community as a
whole has sense of control over its food safety and security.

In small home gardens or vacant lots, many poorer city dwellers grow their own food, thus
enhancing their own food security.
-Tips for Urban Gardeners, June 2002, Amy Souza

Hunger Task Force recognizes the important role that community gardening and urban
agriculture have in our local food system. Fostering local agricultural initiatives and
supporting sustainable food sources adds value to our community. Educating people,
especially children, on how to garden teaches them respect for food choices and value
for our local food system. Community gardens provide opportunities for urban
households to grow healthy, nutritious foods.
-Sherry Tussler, Executive Director, Hunger Task Force of Milwaukee
57

Community Gardens…
Create a sense of pride and accomplishment and the empowerment of food self-sufficiency.*
~EDUCATION~

Community gardens offer a green and growing island in the concrete urban environment where
children and young adults can learn about and explore nature. The natural physical
environment can teach about the process of plant growth and the care that is necessary to
guarantee a good harvest.

Often, urbanites do not think about the source of their food beyond the local food store. A
community garden offers the opportunity to experience the direct connection between food and
its source.
In a Community Garden…
Children can find a sanctuary, a
place to play, and learn about
ecology and working with others.*

~ECONOMY~

An obvious savings is on produce that would have otherwise been bought. When asked how
much money was saved on vegetables for the year, 75% estimate saving $50 to $200
According to the UW-Extension archive files, $8.9 million worth of produce grown from 1978-
1989.

Community gardens help to bring life to an area, beautify it, and lessen crime. All of these
attributes are good for improving a neighborhood, eventually turning a place that is less likely to
be lively into a vibrant, urban neighborhood. Improve of the overall neighborhood appearance
can serve as a people attractor, possibly followed by small businesses.
When utilizing leaves in compost instead of landfills, taxpayers and the city save money. Run-
off and flooding problems, and their resulting costs, are lessened by the existence of green
spaces, such as community gardens. Further savings are realized through the reduction of the
heat island effect and the resultant lower need to use air conditioning (and pay for it in the
electric bill).
58

Finally, cities today are hot to attract the talent that is leading the way in the new economy,
probably best known as the “creative class”. This group of people tends to seek a good place to
live and then find a job there. One of the more significant factors they are looking for is
diversity:

The creative class people I study use the word "diversity" a lot, but not to press any political hot
buttons. Diversity is simply something they value in all its manifestations. This is spoken of so
often, and so matter-of-factly, that I take it to be a fundamental marker of creative class values.
Creative-minded people enjoy a mix of influences. They want to hear different kinds of music and
try different kinds of food. They want to meet and socialize with people unlike themselves, trade
views and spar over issues. - Richard Florida, The Rise of the Creative Class

Gardens are fertile ground for diversity, and gardens themselves are a diverse use in a city
otherwise built-up and covered with concrete and glass buildings. The right mix of a good built
environment and green spaces can the ultimate in appealing to the creative class, or for that
matter, any citizen.

Community Gardens…
Provide low-cost organic vegetables
and herbs.*
59

* Quotes from the University of Florida’s Center for Construction and the Environment,
“Community Gardens” webpage (http://www.cce.ufl.edu/past/commgardens/ ).
60

APPENDIX B: EXCERPTS FROM ENVIRONMENT AND BEHAVIOR BY FRANCES E.


KUO AND WILLIAM C. SULLIVAN FROM MAY OF 2001
Residents living in "greener" surroundings report lower levels of fear, fewer
incivilities, and less aggressive and violent behavior. This study used police
crime reports to examine the relationship between vegetation and crime in an
inner-city neighborhood. Crime rates for 98 apartment buildings with varying
levels of nearby vegetation were compared. Results indicate that although
residents were randomly assigned to different levels of nearby vegetation, the
greener a building's surroundings were, the fewer crimes reported.
Furthermore, this pattern held for both property crimes and violent crimes.
The relationship of vegetation to crime held after the number of apartments
per building, building height, vacancy rate, and number of occupied units per
building were accounted for.

(Statistically Significant results)


Compared to buildings with low levels of vegetation, those with
medium levels had 42% fewer total crimes, 40% fewer property
crimes, and 44% fewer violent crimes. The comparison between
low and high levels of vegetation was even more striking:
Buildings with high levels of vegetation had 52% fewer total
crimes, 48% fewer property crimes, and 56% fewer violent crimes
than buildings with low levels of vegetation. Fisher's protected
least significant difference analyses indicate that for each
measure of crime, low and medium buildings were significantly
different at < .05.

Vegetation was a significant predictor of total crime (change


= -1.1, significance = .05) even when all other crime
predictors have been accounted for.

The greener a building's surroundings are the fewer total crimes;


moreover, this relationship extended to both property crimes and
violent crimes. Levels of nearby vegetation explained 7% to 8% of
the variance in the number of crimes reported per building. The
link between vegetation and crime could not be accounted for by
either of the two confounding variables identified. Vegetation
contributed significant additional predictive power above and
beyond four other classic environmental predictors of crime. And
out of all possible combinations of available predictors, vegetation
was identified as one of the two predictors in the best possible
model of crime.
61

APPENDIX C: PROPERTY VALUES STATISTICAL MODEL

Hypothesis
As was discussed earlier in this report there has been extensive research on the effects
parks and open space have on residential property values. The purpose of this research
was to determine if community gardens have a positive effect on residential property
values. The hypothesis for this study was:
As the distance of a residential property from community garden increases, the
total assessed value of the property decreases.

The null hypothesis for this study was:


There is no relationship between the distance of a residential property from a
community garden and the properties total assessed value.

Data Sources & Description


This study focused only on community gardens in the City of Milwaukee since this is
where MUG is located. Forty-three community garden parcels were chosen for the
study. These were all the community gardens that were known to exist in the City at the
time of this research. Some of these parcels are adjoining and are considered as one
community garden; therefore, these parcels were grouped and the final data set
contained 25 community gardens (43 total parcels). Information regarding all the
properties in the study was obtained from the Milwaukee Property File (MPROP). The
Milwaukee Property File was established in 1975 and is a record of all properties in the
city. It contains more than 90 elements of data describing attributes of each property
and is updated on an annual basis. (http://www.gis.ci.mil.wi.us.).

Dependent Variable
Current Asset Value (Y) - The sum of current land and improvement assessment.
Independent Variables
Building Area (X1) – The total useable floor area of the structure in square feet.
Bedrooms (X2) - The total number of bedrooms.
Lot Area (X3) – The size of the property in square feet.
Age Home (X4) – The age of the structure in years.
62

Dummy Variable
Owner Occupancy (X5) – Coded as one if the property is owner occupied.

Distance Variables
Dist250 (X6) – All properties within 250 feet of the community gardens were given
their exact distance value, properties from 251 feet out to the quarter mile were coded as
zero.
Dist500 (X7) – All properties from 251 feet to 500 feet of the community gardens
were given their exact distance value, properties outside this range were coded as zero.
Dist750 (X8) – All properties from 501 feet to 751 feet of the community gardens
were given their exact distance value, properties outside this range were coded as zero.

Methodology & Analysis Techniques


This study focused on Milwaukee, WI for the year 2002. Prior research has shown that
a park can have a positive impact on surrounding residential property values up to a mile
(5280 feet) away from the park. (Crompton, 2001) The research has also shown that
larger parks have impacts at greater distances than smaller parks. Based on the prior
research and an initial analysis it was determined to use a base distance of a quarter
mile (1320 feet) for the analysis of property values. Distance variables for 250, 500, and
750 feet were used because these distances represented one, two, and three blocks
respectively. Based on the old Milwaukee grid system, a typical residential block is 660
feet by 300 feet, from street centerline to street centerline. Therefore, a typical block is
198,000 square feet. Using the equation for the area of a circle (A = Π*R2) a buffer
distance of 251.1 feet was determined to have the same square footage as a typical
residential block. To make analysis simpler a buffer distance of 250 feet was used. In
conclusion, all properties within 250 feet of a community garden are said to be within
one block, all properties within 251-500 feet of a community garden are said to be within
two blocks, and all properties within 501-750 feet of a community garden are said to be
within three blocks. Distances were calculated for each parcel within the quarter mile by
measuring the distance from the center of each community garden to the center of the
residential properties. This concept is illustrated in the diagrams below.
63
64

This research only studied the effects community gardens had on residential properties;
therefore, only properties that had a land use group code of 1 (Single family), 2 (Duplex),
3 (Multi-family), or 4 (Commercial & residential) in the MPROP data set were used.
Removing all parcels from the MPROP data set that did not fall within a quarter mile of
the 25 community gardens and were not residential properties left a sample size of
7,218 properties.

The method of analysis used in this study was multiple linear regression. Using
regression allowed the development of a model that could be used to predict the current
asset value of residential properties based on the values of the independent variables.

Results
Below are tables which display the summary statistics for each of the variables. The first
table is for all the parcels within a quarter mile of a community garden.

Statistics

CATOTAL BLDGAREA BEDROOMS LOTAREA OWNEROCC AGEHOME


N Valid 7218 7218 7218 7218 7218 7170
Missing 0 0 0 0 0 48
Mean 52894.94 2186.09 4.49 4809.30 .54 92.44
Median 40300.00 1936.50 4.00 4140.00 1.00 98.00
Std. Deviation 66706.81 1743.368 5.447 2693.658 .499 26.039
Sum 3.8E+08 15779195 32401 34713504 3888 662781

The second table is for all the parcels within 250 feet of a community garden.

Statistics

CATOTAL BLDGAREA BEDROOMS LOTAREA OWNEROCC AGEHOME


N Valid 364 364 364 364 364 363
Missing 0 0 0 0 0 1
Mean 50087.91 2320.40 4.35 4888.63 .54 97.32
Median 39300.00 2153.00 4.00 4200.00 1.00 100.00
Std. Deviation 40854.46 1571.320 2.125 2323.049 .499 20.400
Sum 1.8E+07 844624 1585 1779463 197 35326
65

The third table is for all the parcels between 251 feet and 500 feet of a community
garden.

Statistics

CATOTAL BLDGAREA BEDROOMS LOTAREA OWNEROCC AGEHOME


N Valid 1147 1147 1147 1147 1147 1138
Missing 0 0 0 0 0 9
Mean 48958.50 2227.10 4.41 4609.13 .55 94.75
Median 38400.00 2064.00 4.00 3840.00 1.00 100.00
Std. Deviation 43038.19 1321.689 3.470 2090.609 .498 24.795
Sum 5.6E+07 2554489 5061 5286668 627 107827

The fourth table is for all the parcels between 501 feet and 750 feet of a community
garden.

Statistics

CATOTAL BLDGAREA BEDROOMS LOTAREA OWNEROCC AGEHOME


N Valid 1557 1557 1557 1557 1557 1554
Missing 0 0 0 0 0 3
Mean 49812.40 2182.24 4.40 4724.23 .53 93.18
Median 39500.00 1959.00 4.00 3993.00 1.00 98.00
Std. Deviation 41009.46 1619.761 3.117 2483.447 .499 25.499
Sum 7.8E+07 3397755 6853 7355621 832 144795

The fifth table is for all the parcels between 751 feet and 1320 feet of a community
garden.
66

Statistics

CATOTAL BLDGAREA BEDROOMS LOTAREA OWNEROCC AGEHOME


N Valid 4150 4150 4150 4150 4150 4115
Missing 0 0 0 0 0 35
Mean 55385.64 2164.42 4.55 4889.58 .54 91.09
Median 41500.00 1902.00 4.00 4290.00 1.00 97.00
Std. Deviation 80231.61 1897.840 6.652 2933.932 .499 26.907
Sum 2.3E+08 8982327 18902 20291752 2232 374833

The analysis of total assessed value and proximity to a community garden found a non-
linear relationship; however, the regression model did indicate a statistically significant
relationship between assessed value and proximity. According to the results, as the
distance from a community garden increases by one foot the total assessed value for a
residential property decreases by $24.77, for properties within 250 feet. For residential
properties between 251 feet and 500 feet the total assessed value decreases by $11.14
for each increase in one foot. Finally, for residential properties between 501 feet and
750 feet the total assessed value decreases by $6.71 for each increase in one foot. The
above concept is illustrated in the graph below. The graph not only illustrates that total
assessed value decreases with distance, but that the effects are stronger at closer
distances.

Decrease in Total Asset Value per foot

30
$24.78
25
20
Dollars ($)

Decrease in Total Asset


15
$11.14 Value per foot
10
$6.71
5
0
0-250 251-500 501-750
Distance (feet)
67

The following is the best linear regression model that was


found for this study. The variables building area, bedrooms, lot area, and owner
occupancy all had positive coefficients as was expected. The variables home age,
dist250, dist500, and dist750 all had negative coefficients as was expected.

Y = 16,092.19 + 5.60X1 + 8,264.90X2 + .76X3 – 227.40X4 + 12,887.78X5 – 24.77X6 –


11.14X7 – 6.71X8

According to the model the total asset value of a residential property within a quarter
mile of a community garden would be $16,092.19, holding all other variables constant.
As building area increases by every foot the total asset value increases by $5.60,
holding all other variables constant. As the number of bedrooms increases by one the
total asset value increases by $8,264.90, holding all other variables constant. As the lot
area increases by one foot the total asset value increases by $.76, holding all other
variables constant. As the age of a home increases by one year the total asset value
decreases by $227.40, holding all other variables constant. Finally, if the property is
owner occupied the total asset value increase by $12,887.78.

An F-test was conducted to analysis whether the model contained at least one
significant variable. The F-test value was 1107 with a significance of .000, indicating
that the model did have at least one significant variable. According the results all of the
variables where significant to .05 (95%), with dist250 having a significance value of .06
(94%). The adjusted R squared for the model was .553, which indicates that 55% of the
variation in total asset value can be explained by the independent variables. The results
from the collinearity statistics did not indicate that a multicollinearity problem existed.
The results from the model appear in the tables below.

Model Summaryb

Change Statistics
Adjusted Std. Error of R Square Durbin-W
Model R R Square R Square the Estimate Change F Change df1 df2 Sig. F Change atson
1 .744a .553 .553 44677.5428 .553 1107.485 8 7161 .000 1.991
a. Predictors: (Constant), DIST750, BLDGAREA, AGEHOME, DIST250, OWNEROCC, DIST500, BEDROOMS, LOTAREA
b. Dependent Variable: CATOTAL
68

Coefficientsa

Standardi
zed
Unstandardized Coefficien
Coefficients ts Collinearity Statistics
Model B Std. Error Beta t Sig. Tolerance VIF
1 (Constant) 16092.185 2519.693 6.387 .000
BLDGAREA 5.595 .342 .146 16.360 .000 .780 1.282
BEDROOMS 8264.899 100.107 .676 82.561 .000 .931 1.074
LOTAREA ANOVA b
.758 .218 .031 3.472 .001 .807 1.239
AGEHOME -227.396 20.781 -.089 -10.942 .000 .951 1.052
Sum of
OWNEROCC 12887.779 1079.295 .096 Squares
11.941
Model df .000 Mean Square
.962 1.040
F Sig.
DIST250 -24.772 1 13.171 -.015
Regression -1.881
1.77E+13 .060
8 .968
2.211E+12 1.033
1107.485 .000a
DIST500 -11.144 3.794
Residual -.024 1.43E+13
-2.937 .003 1996082830
7161 .932 1.073
DIST750 -6.710 2.096
Total -.026 -3.201
3.20E+13 .001
7169 .930 1.075
a. Dependent Variable: CATOTAL a. Predictors: (Constant), DIST750, BLDGAREA, AGEHOME, DIST250, OWNEROCC,
DIST500, BEDROOMS, LOTAREA
Policy Implications
b. Dependent Variable: CATOTAL
The above study
demonstrated that a community garden has a statistically significant impact on
residential properties. The model confirmed the proximity principle demonstrated in
Crompton 2001, and showed that as distance increases from a community garden the
total assessed value will decrease. This effect was found to be greatest for properties
within one block of a community garden (250 feet) but continued out to three blocks (750
feet) away. Analyzing the model it was found that the community gardens in this study
contributed $8,145,358 in total assessed value to Milwaukee’s property values. Using
the mill rate for 2002 (27.25) the community gardens in this study were found to
contribute $221,988 in property tax revenue for the city. The average amount of total tax
revenue to the city attributed to an average community garden is $8,880. The average
residential property within three blocks of a community garden contributes $1,421 in
property taxes to the city. Below is a spreadsheet which displays the calculations used
in the above analysis.

Distance N B CATotal
250 364 -$24.77 $18,000,000,000.00
500 1147 -$11.44 $56,000,000,000.00
69

750 1557 -$6.71 $78,000,000,000.00

Interval CATotal attributed to


Distance N B CG
250 364 $24.77 $2,254,070.00
250 1147 $11.44 $3,280,420.00
250 1557 $6.71 $2,611,867.50

Total $8,146,357.50

2002 Mill Rate 27.25*

Tax Revenue $221,988.24

Number of Gardens 25

Average Tax
Revenue $8,879.53
Attributed to an
Average
Community Garden
*http://www.ci.mil.wi.us/citygov/assessor/taxrates.htm

The affect that community gardens have on property values was not as large as was
demonstrated in previous research. However, previous research typically dealt with
parks that were 25 to 100+ acres in size, compared to the average 8,000 square foot
community garden. Since community gardens are much smaller in size it would be
anticipated that their affects on property values would not be as great or far reaching as
larger parks. In addition, it should be noted that community gardens in Milwaukee often
reside in areas that have larger land uses which have had a history of driving down
property values. For instance, many of the community gardens in Milwaukee are located
within a quarter mile of a freeway. Since community gardens are smaller in nature and
are often located near negative land uses it can be difficult to examine their true affects
on property values. In this study the location of the freeways probably played a role in
lowering the percentage of variation that was explained by the model (55%).
70

In conclusion this study expanded prior research and found


that community gardens have a statistically significant positive impact on property taxes.
It appears that the residents in Milwaukee are willing to pay more money to live near a
community garden and this effect has driven up the market value of properties within a
three block radius of a community garden. The increased market value has a direct
relation on the asset value of these properties and therefore the amount of tax revenue
these properties contribute to the city. This study should help to calm critics who
otherwise acknowledge the benefits of community gardens, but would have them
removed because they do not believe they contribute to Milwaukee’s property tax
revenue. In addition, it should be noted that the city does not have to pay as much
money to provide services (sewer, school, etc.) to community gardens as they would
have to for a residential property.
71

APPENDIX D: GARDENING POLICIES IN OTHER CITIES

~ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT POLICY~

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
PM-307.6 Disregard of notice: here the order to eliminate an unsafe condition is not
obeyed, the Department, in addition to invoking any other sanction or procedure, is
authorized to eliminate the unsafe condition or contract with other persons for repair or
demolition and, with the approval of the Law Department, collect the costs, including
departmental monitoring costs, from the owner by lien or otherwise. When the
Department proceeds to demolish any structure whether by contract or by its own
employees, the contract or the Department may provide for the installation of a fence or
other protective devices and the application of environmentally-safe treatments to control
vegetative overgrowth by the demolition contractor or by Department employees in order
to secure the perimeter of the vacant lot, protect the health, safety and welfare of the
community, prevent overgrowth and deter the illegal dumping of trash and debris. In
addition, the Department shall work cooperatively with other city and city-related
agencies on any plans for the acquisition, disposition and re-use of vacant lots including,
but not limited to: community development, housing, neighborhood gardening,
landscaping, play areas, side yards, or any other legal uses. The Commissioner shall
have the discretion to determine whether a fence or other protective device is necessary
based on a planned re-use of the vacant lot by an abutting or nearby property owner,
community development corporation, community-based or block organization; other
unique circumstances; or upon the written request of a City department, agency or
official.i

Spokane, Washington
Title 12 Public Ways and Property
Chapter: 12.05 General City Property
Listing 12.05.010 Vacant Property -- Gardens.
72

The city council finds the City owns certain unused vacant
property which would not be harmed and would be benefited if put to use by volunteers,
without cost, for private gardens.

The city engineer or his designee is authorized to issue permits to private citizens
authorizing them to enter designated areas of vacant municipal property, to remove
debris and therefrom and to plant gardens thereon.ii

~LEASES~

Des Moines, Iowa


Sec. 2-563. Duties of city engineer
The city engineer shall serve as the chief civil engineer and shall have administrative
responsibility for the following matters, subject to such administrative procedures as may
be established by the city manager:
1) The design and construction of all city infrastructure/ building facilities included in
the capital improvement program (CIP) as adopted annually by the city council.

2) The installation, timing and maintenance of traffic control devices; the conduct of
engineering studies of traffic accidents and the development of remedial
measures; the planning for the operation of traffic on city streets and highways;
the planning and maintenance of the street lighting system; the planning,
maintenance and operation of public municipal parking facilities; and the
issuance of permits as authorized by city ordinances for activities occurring in the
street right-of-way.

3) The operation and maintenance of the Des Moines Regional Wastewater


Reclamation Authority (WRA), WRA sewers, flow metering facilities in the WRA
system, and all sanitary sewer pumping stations and equalization basins. The
city engineer shall serve as the Des Moines Regional Wastewater Reclamation
Authority Operating Agency Director.

4) The city engineer shall serve as the director of the city stormwater utility.

5) All property acquisition and relocation activities and name garden leases
73

6) Other related duties and functions as may be assigned by state law, by city
ordinance or council resolution, or by the city manager.iii
74

~RESOLUTION~

Madison, Wisconsin
The report entitled “Growing a Stronger Community with Community Gardens: An Action
Plan for Madison” is a 71-page document, and is not included in this report. It can be
obtained at: http://www.wisc.edu/mfsp/pubsf/tskfrpt.html. Below are the minutes for the
resolution and the friendly amendment approved on September 16, 1997:

Resolution 46489 (1990)

Whereas, community gardens assist City residents in improving the quality of City life by
revitalizing neighborhoods, stimulating social interaction, conserving and recycling
resources, reducing family food budgets and creating opportunities for recreation,
therapy, and exercise… iv

Resolution 24580 (Presented July 6, 1999)

WHEREAS the Common Council formed the City of Madison Advisory Committee on
Community Gardens (Resolution #23429) to research, advise and make
recommendations to the Common Council; and
WHEREAS community gardens are a public good and community gardening converts
public and private lands into neighborhood civic spaces where people grow vegetables,
fruits, flowers and herbs that they otherwise could not grow; and
WHEREAS the City of Madison has lost one-third of its community gardens in the last
fifteen years, while some other communities in the country have been proactive in
creating and improving community garden spaces; and
WHEREAS some of the existing community gardens in Madison have waiting lists up to
four years of potential gardeners who cannot be accommodated in the existing gardens;
and
WHEREAS the City of Madison and other cities throughout the nation have recognized
the value which community gardens can add to the health, vitality, and civic pride of a
neighborhood; and
75

WHEREAS the Committee’s recommendations were prepared through the cooperative


effort of neighborhood organizations, land trusts, City agencies, and other public and
private and non-profit agencies; and
WHEREAS the Committee’s recommendations have been reviewed by the staff to
appropriate City boards and commissions and have received acceptance by the public at
a city-wide open meeting/public forum; and
WHEREAS City departments/agencies are expected to work with neighborhoods, land
trusts, and other public/private organizations to assist in the implementation of the
Committee’s recommendations over a ten-year time frame.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Common Council does hereby adopt the
“Growing a Stronger Community with Community Gardens: An Action Plan for Madison”
report as a supplement to the City Land Use Plan and a part of the Master Plan for the
City of Madison to guide the development, preservation and creation of a permanent
system of long-lasting, well managed community gardens throughout the City of
Madison and serve as a model for other communities.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the following specific recommendations are
organized in priority order according to the agency responsible to take the lead for
implementation and that appropriate City agencies should assign priority beginning with
the 2000 work plans and budgets to implement Projects, Policies and Activities in the
Committee’s report.

Mayor’s Office
• Will create an ongoing position of Coordinator for community gardening issues.
The Coordinator, who could be a City staff member, should serve as liaison
between existing community gardening organizations and City departments
working on behalf of new or existing community gardens.

The Garden Coordinator will:


• Organize a Community Gardens Council comprising members of all local groups
involved in community gardening, including land trusts and City staff. The
Gardens Council will be given primary responsibility for organizing, detailing and
advising the acquisition for community gardening sites and obtaining necessary
76

resources; and Work with the Council and the City’s neighborhood coordinator to
find opportunities for neighborhood gardening sites.
• Will take the lead in creating the position of Community Gardens Coordinator,
which will be essential to the successful implementation of the Committee’s
report.
• Will advocate for an amendment to the Dane County Park and Open Space Plan
so that the Plan sets community gardens as a county priority. Once the plan is
amended, money from the county’s $30 million conservation fund could be used
for garden acquisition.
• Will support local garden groups’ efforts to write letters of support or
proclamations to help with fundraising, provide educational programs for
community gardening, and related needs.
• The Mayor’s Office will provide grant opportunities as needed to develop new
methods for garden organizations to use public monies to leverage private,
nonprofit and foundation grants in support of local community gardening
initiatives.
• Will provide office space and equipment support for the Garden Coordinator to
find opportunities for neighborhood gardening sites.

Parks Division & Street Division


• Will deliver compost and other commonly available soil amendments (e.g. mulch,
topsoil, lake weeds) to the garden sites, when trucks and material are available.
• Will pick up refuse from the garden sites on the same schedule as adjacent
residential properties.
• Will consider the request for the use of city equipment and operators for site
clearing and other garden needs.

Parks Division
• Will amend the 1997 Parks and Open Space Plan to include the existing Parks
Division practices with neighborhood initiatives and adequate support of assisting
development of community garden sites in city area, community, and regional
parks (parks of 10 acres or larger) as a cost-effective method of providing
additional garden space throughout the City.
77

• The City, through the Parks Division, will also support land acquisition and
revenue development for gardens at the State and County levels with the DNR
Stewardship Fund and Open Space Initiative, respectively.
• Will consider crediting land or easements dedicated to the public or to a
community land trust toward the developer’s public parkland dedication
requirement. This would allow land designated for community gardens to be
privately owned by a land trust with a reversion or easement to the city, and
would be subject to conditions and approvals by the Parks Commission, Plan
Commission, and Common Council, to ensure the compatibility of the gardens
with their neighborhoods.
• Will consider budgeting for the construction and maintenance of permanent
watering systems at each community gardening site in City parks.
• Will amend the 1997 Parks and Open Space Plan to include the provision of the
1991 Parks and Open Space Plan, which recommends that the Parks Division be
capital funded to acquire suitable sites for as many as 2,000 Cityowned,
permanent garden plots of 200-800 square feet in size each. The City should
encourage community gardens in City parks, especially in community and area
parks, to aid in accomplishing the goal stated above.
• Will consider using impact fees to secure land for community gardening.

• The Community Gardens Advisory Committee also requests that the Parks
Division, in cooperation with Olbrich Botanical Society, consider developing a
demonstration community garden in the planned expansion of Olbrich Botanical
Gardens.

Department of Planning and Development, Planning Unit:


• Will include community gardens in a city-wide land use plan as recommended
civic space.
• Will establish, in the city-wide land use plan, an appropriate service standard for
community gardens.
• Will amend relevant zoning ordinances to include community gardens as a
permitted use in all zoning districts.

78

• Will insure that the use of adjacent land parcels will be compatible with
community gardens and their needs; e.g., protecting the gardens’ solar access
and managing stormwater so that it does not damage the plots.
• Will give priority to Planned Unit Developments that incorporate gardens as an
accepted use of open/civic space.
• Will give standing to the community gardening initiatives of neighborhood groups.
Grants for this purpose could be applied for through the new City of Madison
Community Enhancement Program. This would encourage local garden groups
to provide in-kind services and supplies as a match.

Department of Planning and Development, Community Development Authority,


Community Economic Development Unit, and Housing Operations:
• City government will assist in acquiring land and/or park dedication for a
community garden in the Isthmus within the next two years. The Isthmus was
identified as an area with high need and little accessible land.
• The City of Madison Community Development Authority and the Community
Economic Development Unit will adopt a policy in support of existing community
gardens on leased land having their leases extended five years or longer.
• City departments and agencies that lease land for community gardens will extend
those leases to a minimum of five years. Leases should provide for evaluation in
the fourth year for renewal after the following year. Leases for community
gardens will be given flexibility for amenities that enhance their use as civic
spaces. Lease provisions should allow beautification areas, perennial plantings
and other amenities. Will support community gardens as a valuable asset at city-
owned housing sites.

Department of Planning and Development, Community Development Block Grant:


• The City will fund nonprofit organizations to acquire and hold lands for
community gardens and arrange for the management of gardens and otherwise
steward the land. A model for this type of program is the Troy Garden Coalition,
in which the Madison Area Community Land Trust owns the land and the Urban
Open Space Foundation restricts its use through a conservation easement on a
permanent basis. This model, or similar models, should be strongly considered
79

for use in other parts of the City. City government will continue to review policies
to ensure support to organizations like Community Action Coalition (CAC) that
are responsible for managing gardens. In addition, the City should provide
support for similar nonprofit groups to help develop and sustain community
gardens.

• Recognizing that the development and management of a community garden is a


private and public initiative, the City will establish support/operation funds that will
be made available to community garden groups as a grant program to assist the
improvements of their gardens. Grants would be awarded on the assessment of
needs of each neighborhood garden group that requests funds.

Mayor’s Office/Parks/Community Development Block Grant:


• City government will institute a gardens acquisition program that will create at
least one new site every year for the next ten years or until a balance has been
reached between the demand for and supply of community garden plots.
• City government will establish an annual set-aside fund of $60,000 for the
purchase of land or acquiring land by park dedication for community gardens that
have been identified as needing them. The City will also pursue funds for the
purchase of land for community gardens from other sources, such as State
Stewardship funds, Federal funds, Dane County Open Space Initiative and
private foundations.
• Neighborhood centers will support the efforts of neighborhood groups to develop
community gardens within Cityowned subsidized and unsubsidized housing
projects.

Assessor’s Office:
• Will consider reviewing the assessments of private landholders who lease their
land for community gardens on the basis of new use, length of the lease, and
possible restrictions on use of the land.v
80

SUBSTITUTE - Approving the "Growing a Stronger Community with Community


Gardens: An Action Plan for Madison" and the Committee's recommendations contained
in Plan.
Appearances - Supporting: 13, Appearances - Opposing: 0
Registrations - Supporting: 32, Registrations - Opposing: 0
On Motion of OLSON/SENTMANAT
ADOPT
Motion to make a friendly amendment removing the statement that the Mayor's Office
Provide office space and equipment support for the Garden Coordinator to find
opportunities for neighborhood gardening sites.vi

Additionally, this was added to preempt the recommendation for any further expenditure:

Whereas nothing in this resolution shall be considered a mandate or a directive


for the expenditure or for the creation of positions.vii

Resolution 32277 (Presented August 6, 2002)

WHEREAS, on September 16, 1997 the City of Madison authorized the establishment of
an ad hoc committee to identify potential roles for community gardens in neighborhood
improvement efforts and possible City action to facilitate such efforts; and
WHEREAS, the Madison Common Council adopted an amended substitute resolution
approving “Growing a Stronger Community with Community Gardens: An Action Plan for
Madison,” on November 30, 1999; and
WHEREAS, the focus of the ad hoc committee has evolved from that of identifying
needs and proposing actions to that of primarily plan implementation; and
WHEREAS, the Common Council Committee on Committees has recommended that the
ad hoc committee sunset and be recreated with an updated charge as an organization or
committee under the Mayor’s Office; and
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that a new Committee on Community Gardens
be created to act as a sounding board on garden issues and on implementation of Action
Plan recommendations; and
81

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that an attempt be made to continue the linkages with the
Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Commission, the Parks Commission and
the Plan Commission; and
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the existing members of the current Ad Hoc
Committee, as well as other interested members of the community, be invited to serve,
that no more than 15

individuals can be members at any given time and that a quorum be considered as half
of those members who are active and attend meetings; and

FINALLY BE IT RESOLVED that the Committee on Community Gardens be staffed by


the Mayor’s Office.viii

Resolution 33464 (Presented February 13, 2003)

3.67 COMMITTEE ON COMMUNITY GARDENS.


(1) Purpose. The Committee on Community Gardens shall act in an advisory capacity to
the
Mayor and the Common Council in identifying the potential roles for community gardens
in neighborhood improvement efforts; in identifying possible City actions that can
facilitate such efforts; recommending actions for the implementation of the November 30,
1999, “Growing a Stronger Community with Community Gardens: An Action Plan for
Madison”, (Action Plan) and; acting as a sounding board for citizen concerns regarding
community garden issues and/or the implementation of the Action Plan
recommendations.

(2) Organization. The Committee shall be composed of ten members to be appointed by


the Mayor subject to the approval of the Common Council. One member shall be a
gardener who must be recommended by the Eagle Heights Assembly or the Assembly’s
successor organization. The terms of such appointments shall be three years. Initial
appointment terms shall be set as follows so as to create staggered terms thereafter:
four members shall be appointed for three (3) years, three members for two (2) years,
82

and three members for one year. A quorum shall be a majority of the appointed
membership of the committee.

(3) Vacancies. All vacancies shall be filled by appointment of the Mayor subject to
approval of the Common Council for a term filling out the remainder of the vacated
member’s term.

(4) Staffing. The Mayor’s Office shall staff this committee. The Community Development
Block Grant Commission, the Parks Commission and the Plan Commission shall each
designate a member as a liaison to the Committee on Community Gardens.

(5) Compensation. The members of the Committee shall serve without compensation.”ix

Seattle, Washington
Resolution -28610

A RESOLUTION declaring the City of Seattle's support for the maintenance and long-
term expansion of the P-Patch Community Gardening Program.
WHEREAS, the P-Patch Community Gardens have a long history in Seattle, started over
20 years ago, the gardens have grown to 27 citywide sites tended by more than 2,500
gardeners: and
WHEREAS, P-Patch gardens create alternative food sources and contribute as much as
1,000 pounds of free fresh produce to city food banks; and
WHEREAS, P-Patch community gardening contributes to the preservation, access to,
and use of open space; and
WHEREAS, the Seattle P-Patch Program has been recognized nationally as a model for
urban gardening; and
WHEREAS , the popularity of the gardens continues to grow, especially with increases
in housing density within the city; and NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE
CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SEATTLE, THE MAYOR CONCURRING, THAT:
83

The City of Seattle will promote inter-agency and intergovernmental cooperation among
agencies such as the Parks Department, the Engineering Department, the Housing
Authority, the School

District, Metro, the Port Authority, the Water Department, City Light, and the Department
of Transportation to expand opportunities for community gardening;

The City of Seattle recommends that P-Patch gardens be apart of the Comprehensive
Plan and that any appropriate ordinances be strengthened to encourage, preserve and
protect community gardening particularly in medium and high density residential areas;
The City of Seattle will include the P-Patch Program in the evaluation of priority use of
city surplus property;
The City of Seattle recognizes the economic, environmental and social value of the
gardens and will attempt to provide budgetary support for the management of the P-
Patch program; and
The City of Seattle encourages that expansion of the P-Patch program and outreach
should give special emphasis to low income families and individuals, youth, the elderly,
physically challenged, and other special populations.

ADOPTED by the City Council of the City of Seattle the 14th day of September, 1992.
The specific goals for open space are outlined in the chart on the following page.

SEATTLE URBAN VILLAGE OPEN SPACE AND RECREATION FACILITY GOALS


URBAN CENTER VILLAGES HUB URBAN VILLAGES RESIDENTIAL URBAN
VILLAGES URBAN VILLAGE OPEN SPACE POPULATION BASED GOALS One acre
of Village Open Space per 1000 households. For the downtown core one acre of Village
Open Space per 10,000 jobs. One acre of Village Open Space per 1000 households.
Same as for Hub Urban Villages

URBAN VILLAGE OPEN SPACE DISTRIBUTION GOALS All locations in the village
within approximately 1/8 mile of Village Open Space. Same as for Urban Center Villages
84

For moderate and high density areas: all locations within 1/8 mile of a Village Open
Space that is between 1/4 and 1 acre in size, or within ¼ mile of a Village Open Space
that is greater than 1 acre.

QUALIFYING CRITERIA FOR VILLAGE OPEN SPACE Dedicated open spaces of at


least 10,000 square feet in size, publicly accessible, and usable for recreation and social
activities Same as for Urban Center Villages Same as for Urban Center and Hub
Villages

VILLAGE COMMONS GOALS At least one usable open space of at least one acre in
size (Village Commons) with growth target of more than 2500 households. At least one
usable open space of at least one acre in size (Village Commons) At least one usable
open space of at least one acre in size (Village Commons) where overall residential
density is 10 households per gross acre or more.

RECREATION FACILITY GOALS One indoor, multiple use recreation facility serving
each Urban Center. One facility for indoor assembly One facility for indoor public
assembly in Villages with greater than 2000 households.

COMMUNITY GARDEN GOALS One dedicated community garden for each 2500
households in the Village with at least one dedicated garden site. Same as for Urban
Center Villages Same as for Urban Center and Hub Villages.x

Chicago, Illinois
AUTHORIZATION FOR EXECUTION OF INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENT
WITH CHICAGO PARK DISTRICT AND FOREST PRESERVE DISTRICT OF COOK
COUNTY FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF "NEIGHBORSPACE"
The Committee on Finance submitted the following report:

CHICAGO, March 26, 1996.


To the President and Members of the City Council:
85

Your Committee on Finance, having had under consideration a communication


recommending a proposed ordinance concerning the authority for the City of Chicago to
participate in the establishment of NeighborSpace, a not-for-profit corporation, having
had the same under advisement, begs leave to report and recommend that Your
Honorable Body Pass the proposed ordinance transmitted herewith. This
recommendation was concurred in by a viva voce vote of the members of the committee.
Respectfully submitted,
(Signed) EDWARD M. BURKE, Chairman.

WHEREAS, The City of Chicago ("City") is a home rule unit by virtue of the provisions of
the Constitution of the State of Illinois of 1970 and, as such, may exercise any power
and perform any function pertaining to its government and affairs; and
WHEREAS, There is a lack of sufficient open space in the City for recreational and
aesthetic uses; and
WHEREAS, There is a need and desire to develop typically small, open spaces as
pocket parks, gardens and natural areas for public use for the benefit of the citizens of
the City; and
WHEREAS, It is in the interest of the City for the development and maintenance of such
open spaces to be undertaken by private parties who reside in the neighborhoods in
which such spaces are located; and
WHEREAS, Neighborhood community groups are often unable to develop and maintain
such spaces for public use because of concerns over liability and/or lack of adequate
funds; and
WHEREAS, The Department of Planning and Development ("Department") has
recommended the formation of a not- for-profit corporation to be known as
"NeighborSpace" to own, lease, manage, or hold easements to typically small, open
spaces in the City for development and maintenance by neighborhood community and
business groups since such open space projects can be more efficiently managed by
local groups than by governmental agencies; and
86

WHEREAS, NeighborSpace would be formed as a collaboration among the City, the


Chicago Park District ("Park District") and the Forest Preserve District of Cook County
"Forest Preserve District"); and
WHEREAS, The Mayor of the City, the President of the Park District Board of
Commissioners and the President of the Forest Preserve District Board of
Commissioners would each appoint a representative to serve as an incorporator of
NeighborSpace; and
WHEREAS, The Mayor would appoint one Department Head and one City Council
member to serve on the NeighborSpace Board of Directors; and
WHEREAS, The President of the Park District Board of Commissioners would appoint
one Board member and the General Superintendent would appoint one Department
Head to serve on the NeighborSpace Board of Directors; and
WHEREAS, The President of the Forest Preserve District Board of Commissioners
would appoint one Commissioner who represents part of the City of Chicago and the
General Superintendent would appoint one Department Head to serve on the
NeighborSpace Board of Directors; and
WHEREAS, The Mayor, the President of the Park District Board of Commissioners and
the President of the Forest Preserve District Board of Commissioners would jointly
appoint one (1) member to the NeighborSpace Board of Directors; and
WHEREAS, A three (3) member nominating committee of the appointed board members
would recommend three (3) non-governmental representatives to the NeighborSpace
Board of Directors; and
WHEREAS, The three (3) non-governmental representatives must have a significant
amount of experience in open space and/or parks management, maintenance, planning
or development; and
WHEREAS, The City, the Park District and the Forest Preserve District would enter into
an intergovernmental agreement to define the commitment of each governmental entity
to NeighborSpace; and

WHEREAS, The City, the Park District and the Forest Preserve District, subject to
annual appropriation, would each donate Ninety-three Thousand Seven Hundred Fifty
and no/100 Dollars ($93,750.00) per year for three (3) years to NeighborSpace; and
87

WHEREAS, The Department has already allocated Ninety-three Thousand Seven


Hundred Fifty and no/100 Dollars ($93,750.00) in its 1996 budget for NeighborSpace;
and
WHEREAS, NeighborSpace will have the powers to buy, accept donations of, own,
lease, hold easements to, and sell real property; and

WHEREAS, The City would donate, sell or lease typically small parcels to
NeighborSpace for use as open space benefiting the Citizens of the City, subject to the
approval of the City Council for each parcel for the purpose of creating open public
spaces; and
WHEREAS, NeighborSpace will have the power to acquire tax delinquent parcels
including applying therefor through the City's Tax Reactivation Program where
appropriate and applicable, and easements, or title to river edges dedicated for open
space purposes as part of planned developments; and
WHEREAS, NeighborSpace would enter into agreements with local groups for the use
and maintenance of open spaces; now, therefore,

Be It Ordained by the City Council of the City of Chicago:

SECTION 1. The foregoing recitals are hereby adopted as the findings of the City
Council.
SECTION 2. The establishment of NeighborSpace is a valid exercise of the home rule
powers of the City and will facilitate the development of open spaces for the use and
benefit of the citizens of the City of Chicago.

SECTION 3. The establishment of NeighborSpace, an Illinois not-for profit corporation is


approved.

SECTION 4. The Mayor, on behalf of the City of Chicago, is authorized to:


a) appoint a representative to serve as an incorporator of NeighborSpace;
b) enter into an intergovernmental agreement with the Park District and Forest
Preserve District consistent with the above findings of the City Council and
upon the approval of the corporation Counsel as to form and legality;
88

c) appoint one Department Head and one (1) City Council member to the
NeighborSpace Board of Directors; and
d) jointly with the President of the Park District Board of Commissioners and the
President of the Forest Preserve District Board of Commissioners, appoint one
(1) member to the NeighborSpace Board of Directors.

SECTION 5. This ordinance shall become effective immediately upon its passage.
Intergovernmental Agreement referred to in this ordinance reads as follows:
Intergovernmental Agreement. This Intergovernmental Agreement ("Agreement") is
entered into this 26th day of March 1996, by and among the City of Chicago ("City"), an
Illinois municipal corporation, the Chicago Park District ("Park District"), an Illinois
municipal corporation, and the Forest Preserve District of Cook County ("Forest
Preserve District"), an Illinois special district and pertains to the formation-of a not-for-
profit corporation to be known as "NeighborSpace."

Witnesseth:
Whereas, There is a lack of open space in the City for recreational and aesthetic uses;
and
Whereas, The City, the Park District, and the Forest Preserve District wish to develop
typically small open spaces as public pocket parks and gardens and to preserve river
edges and natural areas for public use; and
Whereas, It is in the interest of the City, the Park District, and the Forest Preserve
District, for the development and maintenance of such spaces to be undertaken by
private parties who reside in the neighborhoods in which such places are located; and

Whereas, Neighborhood community groups are often unable to develop and maintain
such spaces for public use because of concerns over liability and/or lack of adequate
funds; and
Whereas, The City, the Park District, and the Forest Preserve District wish to support the
formation of a not-for-profit corporation to be known as "NeighborSpace"; and
Whereas, NeighborSpace would own, lease, manage, or hold easements to typically
small, open spaces, in the City for development and maintenance by neighborhood
89

community groups since such open space projects can be more efficiently managed by
local groups than by governmental agencies; and
Whereas, NeighborSpace will have the power to buy, accept donations of, own, lease,
hold easements to, and sell real property; and

Whereas, NeighborSpace will also have the power to acquire tax delinquent parcels
including applying therefor through the City's Tax Reactivation Program where
appropriate and applicable, and to acquire easements, or title to river edges dedicated
for open space purposes as part of planned developments; and
Whereas, NeighborSpace would enter into agreements with local groups for the use and
maintenance of open spaces; and
Whereas, The City, the Park District and the Forest Preserve District are entering into
this Agreement to facilitate the formation of NeighborSpace; Now Therefore, In
consideration of the covenants and agreements contained herein, the parties agree as
follows:

Section 1 - Incorporation Of Recitals.


The foregoing recitals are expressly incorporated in and made a part of this Agreement
as if fully set forth therein.

Section 2. Obligations Of The City And The Park District.


The City and the Park District each agree to donate, sell or lease typically small parcels
to NeighborSpace subject, respectively, to the approval of the City Council and the Park
District Board of Commissioners for each parcel for the purpose of creating open public
spaces.

Section 3. Obligations Of The City, The Park District And The Forest Preserve District.
The City, the Park District and the Forest Preserve District each agrees to do the
following:
A. Appoint one representative to serve as an incorporator of NeighborSpace.
B. Subject to annual appropriations, each provide Ninety-three Thousand Seven
Hundred Fifty and no/100 Dollars ($93,750.00) per year to NeighborSpace in
90

Fiscal years 1996, 1997 and 1998. Funds for fiscal year 1996 shall be provided upon
the signing of this Agreement. Subsequent funds shall be provided by February
1, 1997, and February 1, 1998.
C. Make appointments to the NeighborSpace Board of Directors as follows :
1) The City, acting through its Mayor, agrees to appoint one Department
Head and one City Council member.
2) The Park District, acting through the President of its Board of
Commissioners, agrees to appoint one member of the Board of
Commissioners, and acting through its General Superintendent, agrees to
appoint one Department Head.
3) The Forest Preserve District, acting through the President of its Board of
Commissioners, agrees to appoint one member of the Board of
Commissioners who represents part of the City, and acting through its
General Superintendent, agrees to appoint one Department Head.
4) The Mayor, the President of the Park District Board of Commissioners,
and the President of the Forest Preserve District Board of Commissioners
agree to jointly appoint one (1) member to the NeighborSpace Board of
Directors.

Section 4. - Composition Of The NeighborSpace Board Of Directors.


In addition to the members of the Board of Directors provided for in Section 3(C) of this
Agreement, the Board shall also include three (3) non-governmental representatives
who shall

serve upon approval of the full Board. The non- governmental representatives shall have
a significant amount of experience in open space and/or parks management,
maintenance, planning or development.

Note: The Chicago City Council passed an authorization to extend the intergovernmental
agreement and increase the funding to One hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) each
from the City, Park District and the Forest Park Preserve. The extensions for both the
agreement and funding are for 20 years to expire December 31, 2018.xi
91

~ZONING~

Boston, Massachusetts
Article 33 Open Space Subdistricts (March 8,1988)

Section 33-1- Preamble. This article supplements the creation of an open space district
(OS) designation, which under text amendment No. 101 can be given to public lands or,
with the written consent of the owner to private property. The open space district and
nine open space subdistricts, taken together, present a comprehensive means for
protecting and conserving open spaces through land use regulations. The open space
(OS) designation and an open space subdistrict designation can be used in conjunction
with each other, thus establishing for the land so designated the particular restrictions of
one of the subdistricts: community garden, parkland, recreation, shoreland, urban wild,
waterfront access area, cemetery, urban plaza, or air right. Land can be given the OS
designation, however, without the simultaneous designation of a particular subdistrict,
such as "park" or "garden" where the desired subdistrict designation is yet to be
determined. This system instills flexibility into the regulation of open spaces.

Section 33-2- Statement of Purpose. The purpose of this article is to encourage the
preservation of open space for community gardens, parkland, recreation, shoreland,
urban wild, waterfront access area, cemetery, and urban plaza purposes to enhance the
quality of life of the city's residents by permanently protecting its open space resources:
to distinguish different open space areas in order to provide for uses appropriate to each
open space site on the basis of topography, water, flood plain, scenic value, forest
cover, urban edge, or unusual geologic features; to prevent the loss of open space to
commercial development; to restore Boston's conservation heritage of Olmstead parks;
to coordinate state, regional and local open space plans; to provide and encourage
buffer zones between incompatible land uses and mitigate the effects of noise and air
pollution; to promote and maintain the visual identity of separate and distinct districts; to
enhance the appearance of neighborhoods through preservation of natural green
spaces; and to ensure the provision of adequate natural light and air quality by
protecting the supply of vegetation and open space throughout Boston.
92

Section 33-8- Community Garden Open Space Subdistricts. Community garden open
space (OS-G) subdistricts shall consist of land appropriate for and limited to the
cultivation of herbs, fruits, flowers, or vegetables, including the cultivation and tillage of
soil and the production, cultivation, growing, and harvesting of any agricultural,
floricultural, or horticultural commodity; such land may include Vacant Public Land.xii

Portland, Oregon
33.920.460 Parks And Open Areas
A. Characteristics. Parks and Open Areas are uses of land focusing on natural
areas, large areas consisting mostly of vegetative landscaping or outdoor
recreation, community gardens, or public squares. Lands tend to have few
structures.
B. Accessory uses. Accessory uses may include club houses, maintenance
facilities, concessions, caretaker's quarters, and parking.
C. Examples. Examples include parks, golf courses, cemeteries, public squares,
plazas, recreational trails, botanical gardens, boat launching areas, nature
preserves, and land used for grazing that is not part of a farm or ranch.xiii

Columbus, Ohio
“An agricultural use, farm, field crops, garden, greenhouse, nursery and a truck garden;”
are permitted uses in the following districts:

• R-1 residential district


• R-2 residential district
• R-2F residential district
• R-3 residential district
• R-4 residential district
• R rural district
• RR rural residential district.
• LRR limited rural residential district
• RRR restricted rural residential districtxiv
93

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Community gardens are Permitted Uses in many districts in Minneapolis. Permitted
uses are “Uses specified with a "P" are permitted as of right in the district or districts
where designated, provided that the use complies with all other applicable provisions of
this ordinance. Persons wishing to establish a permitted use shall obtain a zoning
certificate for such use as specified in Chapter 525, Administration and Enforcement:”

• 546.30. Principal uses for the residence districts: R1, R1A, R2, R2B, R3. R4, R6
(Subject to 536.20, 541.180, 521.190-525.400).
• 547.30. Principal uses for the office residence districts: OR1, OR2, OR3 (Subject
to 536.20, 541.180, 521.190-525.400).
• 549.30. Principal uses for the downtown districts. (Subject to 541.180, 521.190-
525.400).
• 550.30. Principal uses for the industrial districts: I1, I2. (Subject to 536.20,
541.180, 521.190-525.400).
• 548.30. Principal uses for the commercial districts. C1, C2, C3A, C3S, C4
(Subject to 536.20, 541.180, 521.190-525.400).

Community gardens in Minneapolis are also subject the following:


536.20 Specific development standards
Community Garden
(1) Overhead lighting shall be prohibited.
(2) Signage shall be limited to a single, non-illuminated, flat sign of four (4)
square feet.
(3) No more than two (2) vehicles shall be parked on-site, excluding those
parking within an enclosed structure.
(4) No retail sales shall be permitted, except as an approved temporary use,
as specified in Chapter 535, Regulations of general applicability.

541.180. Parking requirements for certain recreational uses.


Community garden: 1 space per 5,000 sq. ft. of lot area.
Notes: The minimum requirement of 4 spaces shall not apply.
94

525.190. Zoning certificate required. A zoning certificate shall be obtained from the
zoning administrator prior to any of the following:
(1) The construction, reconstruction, erection, enlargement, relocation, or
structural alteration of any building or structure or part thereof, including
any principal use,
accessory use, or any other use or improvement which requires a building or
grading permit.
(2) Any change or expansion of use of any building or landxv

~COMPREHENSIVE PLAN~

Berkeley, California
Policy OS-6 New Open Space and Recreational Resources
Create new open space and recreational resources throughout Berkeley.
Actions:
B. Convene a community planning process to determine the final use of the
remaining 14 blocks of City-owned land on the Santa Fe Right-of-Way. The
community planning process shall consider public open space use (i.e.,
neighborhood parks, community gardens, and/or bicycle and pedestrian paths)
as the highest priority use for the remaining vacant land and new affordable
housing development as the next highest priority use.

Policy OS-8 Community Gardens


Encourage and support community gardens as important open space resources that
build communities and provide a local food source. (Also see Environmental
Management Policy EM-34.)
Actions:
A. Encourage neighborhood groups to organize, design, and manage community
gardens particularly where space is available that is not suitable for housing,
parks, pathways, or recreation facilities. Ensure that garden plots are allocated
according to a fair and equitable formula.
B. Require all publicly subsidized community gardens to maintain regular "open to
the public" hours.
95

C. Include community gardens in the planning for the Santa Fe Right-of-Way.


D. Pursue community gardens in high-density areas with little private open space
suitable for gardening.
E. Increase support for community gardens through partnerships with other
government agencies, particularly the Berkeley Unified School District,
neighborhood groups, businesses, and civic and gardening organizations.
F. Support school-based gardens and the involvement of youth in growing and
preparing their own food.

Policy EM-34 Local Food Systems


Increase access to healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate foods for the people of
Berkeley by supporting efforts to build more complete and sustainable local food
production and distribution systems. (Also see Open Space and Recreation Policy OS-
8.)

Actions:
A. Encourage efforts by the Berkeley Unified School District, the University of
California, and other institutions to provide training and instruction in food and
plant production.
B. Support community outreach and education to strengthen organic sustainable
food systems in the city and the region.
C. Promote the purchase of food from local producers for schools, senior centers,
after-school programs, food provision programs, and other social programs.
Encourage the donation of fresh produce from community gardens to local food
programs.
D. Continue to make the City’s composted waste available to community and school
gardens.
E. Promote seed distribution, lead testing, and composting programs for community
gardens.
F. Provide sites for local farmers’ markets and community gardens.
G. Encourage buildings that incorporate rooftop gardens that may be used for
gardening.xvi
96

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