WHCG ByLaws

Article I – Name

 The name of this organization is “West Haven Community Garden” (WHCG). It is located at 255 Meloy Road, West Haven, CT 06516.

Article II– Description and Purpose

1. Description: WHCG is an all-volunteer organization, dedicated to providing gardening plots to residents of West Haven to grow organic produce for themselves and for charitable donations to local food banks and pantries to help the poor and distressed with food needs. It is located on approximately one acre of Molloy School property and has 100 five feet by 10 feet gardening plots. WHCG is open from April 1 to October 31, from dawn til dusk.

WHCG is non-profit, non-partisan, and non-discriminatory. Participation is open to West Haven residents only. Gardeners must be 18 years old or older to rent a plot. While children will be allowed to garden, their plots must be secured through an adult gardener. The experience level of gardeners will range from novice to expert.

WHCG is a multi-cultural and multi-generational program that provides West Haven residents with the opportunity to meet people and create community, get exercise through gardening, learn new skills, enrich the environment, and grow healthy, accessible food for themselves, food banks, and local charitable organizations.

There will be a communal garden included among the plots to raise food to donate to local food banks. Educational programs will be offered to students K-12, elderly, and general public. A gathering space will be provided for the gardeners to rest and communicate with each other, and for teaching.

2. Purpose: WHCG’s purpose is two-fold: 1) to provide garden space to residents who are interested in gardening; and 2) be of benefit to the city by providing food relief and education about growing food and nutrition.

Article III – Membership and Dues

1. Definition:  A “member” is someone who has been granted rights to a particular plot or plot(s) and who agrees to and abides by the WHCG Bylaws, Code of Conduct, and Rules and Regulations as defined by the Executive Board. Each member is assigned one plot.

2. Prospective Members:  Membership is available on a first-come, first-served basis and is open to anyone regardless of gender, race, creed, color, or sexual orientation. If all garden plots are occupied, prospective members’ names are placed on a waiting list. A prospective member of WHCG who has been offered a plot assignment must sign a Permit Application, Liability Waiver, and Code of Conduct, and submit the associated plot fee to become a member of WHCG.

3. Current Member:  A current member in good standing may retain the assigned plot and remain a member of WHCG the following year by signing the Permit Application, Liability Waiver, and Code of Conduct, and paying the required fee by the deadline set for renewal.

4. Termination of Membership:  Membership and plot privileges may be revoked by the Executive Board for violation(s) of the rules established by the Executive Board. Rules and enforcement procedures will be distributed at renewal and enrollment and members are required to sign them. Additionally, these rules and procedures are published on the WHCG website (whcommunitygarden.com) so that they are available to all members at any time.

5. Dues: Membership runs from May 1 to October 31. Members may join at any time during this period if plots are available. Membership dues are not prorated, and are $30 each year; $20 for residents who are 65 as of the end of application year, or older. Dues paid for memberships that have been terminated will not be refunded, even if membership is terminated between May 1 and October 31. Dues are determined by the Executive Board and may change from year to year. Dues are used at the discretion of the Executive Board to pay for supplies and services for WHCG.

Article IV – Governance

1. Executive Board:  Executive Board Members are unpaid volunteers. The Executive Board consists of four elected members and one appointed member – President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, and Master Gardener (appointed by Executive Committee). Executive Board Members decide by majority vote on any and all issues regarding membership, and current and future WHCG activities.

2. Responsibilities: The descriptions outlined below are guidelines, and specific duties may be shared or performed by board members to whom that duty is not assigned. Executive Board members may also perform other duties, which may arise from time to time, that are not listed below.

President

  • Chair meetings.
  • Represent club in dealings with other organizations.
  • Coordinate activities of other officers and committees.
  • Accept new members, collect dues passing dues on to the Treasurer.
  • Maintain the roster of members and records associated with garden plots.
  • Maintain WHCG waiting list.
  • Assign plots to new and existing members.
  • Enforce garden rules and Code of Conduct.
  • Serve notice of rule infractions to violators, after Executive Board has a walkthrough to review violations.
  • Monitor inventory and physical condition of tools and equipment owned by WHCG.
  • Attain board approval for purchase of WHCG tools and/or parts, and make replacements and/or repairs as needed.
  • Track attendance for work days and community service hours.
  • Open bank account.
  • Write checks to pay bills with approval from Executive Board.
  • Build awareness of WHCG to West Haven residents through media releases, flyers, social media, and special events.
  • Fundraise and write grants.

Vice President

  • Act in absence of the president.
  • Assist with fundraising projects.

Treasurer

  • Gather funds received from various activities and deposit them in the bank.
  • Write checks to pay bills with approval from Executive Board.
  • Maintain financial records for WHCG.
  • Prepare financial reports as required by law and as needed for other things.

Secretary

  • Take minutes at all meetings, thereby maintaining a record of all business of WHCG.
  • Prepare correspondence in response to activities associated with WHCG.
  • Check WHCG P.O. Box for mail and give to the appropriate board member.
  • Stamp any checks to WHCG with a “For Deposit Only” stamp and give checks to Treasurer.

Master Gardener (Appointed by Executive Board)

  • Research and prepare guidelines for acceptable plants.
  • Gather resources for organic and non-toxic pest control.
  • Help further organic gardening education.
  • Instruct members as needed on gardening techniques.

3. Executive Board Elections:  Election by closed ballot for Executive Board members shall be conducted annually at the Annual General Meeting held after WHCG membership registration is completed. Each member shall be allowed to cast one vote for each open, elected office. Members vote in Executive Board elections only. They do not vote on any other WHCG matters.

  • Any Member who wants to hold a position on the Executive Board shall submit a Nomination Form to the current Executive Board. Each year, Nomination Forms shall be made available to all Members two weeks before  the Annual General Meeting via email. Completed nomination forms must be emailed to the President no later than three days before the Annual General Meeting.
  • Vacancies for any office may be filled for the un-expired term by majority appointment by the Executive Board.
  • An Executive Board Member may be removed by majority vote of the Executive Board Members.

Article V – Meetings

1. Executive Board:  Executive Board Member Meetings shall be held each month at a place and time determined by the President.

2. Special meetings:  To accommodate guest speakers or otherwise benefit WHCG and its members, special meetings may be called at any other time with at least two weeks prior notification to the membership.

3. Quorum: A quorum of three Executive Board Members is required at each meeting in order to transact business. Official decisions shall require a majority vote of Executive Board Members, as long as a quorum is present.

4. Annual General Meeting: An Annual General Meeting will be held each year in May, beginning in 2015, after WHCG membership registration is completed for Executive Board elections and informational purposes.

Article VI – Records

1. Definition: Official records of WHCG include the Bylaws (this document), Rules and Regulations, Code of Conduct, legal agreements, policy and action documents approved by Executive Board Members, financial statements, and minutes of WHCG meetings.

2. Other Documents: All other documents related to the operation of WHCG, including but not limited to bank statements, receipts, correspondence, and drafts are not automatically available to all members, but may be made so generally or on a case-by-case basis by a vote of the Executive Board.

3. Availability: Official records of WHCG shall be made available for inspection by any member upon request. The Executive Board may publish any or all official records in any manner.

4. Date Privacy: Names, contact information, payment information, and other personal data necessary for the collection of plot fees and the operation of WHCG shall not be distributed to any outside organization, nor to members outside of the Executive Board.

5. Security: The Executive Board may establish procedures to ensure that all records and documents of WHCG are secure from loss.

Article VII – Financial Administration

1. Fiscal Year:  The fiscal year of WHCG is from January 1 through December 31.

2. Financial Records: All financial records of WHCH, including but not limited to checks, statements, receipts, check registers, and electronic records of any type shall be available for inspection and copying by Executive Board at any time. The Executive Board may establish written policies concerning the manner in which payments are made/or how financial records are kept. The Executive Board may establish procedures to ensure that financial records are secure from loss.

3. Accounts: All outside financial accounts opened on behalf of WHCG shall have at least two Executive Board Members as registered signatories.

Article VIII – Amendments

These Bylaws, as well as Rules and Regulations and Code of Conduct, may be amended at any WHCG meeting when approved by a majority vote of Executive Board Members.

Article IX – Standing Rules

1. WHCG is an organic garden. Herbicides (weed killers), pesticides and pressure treated wood is prohibited in WHCG.

2. WHCG is open to legal West Haven Residents and West Haven Tax Payers Only.

3. The Community Garden will be used for personal gardening. Produce grown is not to be sold at anytime for profit.

4. All WHCG expenses shall be pre-approved by the Executive Board. Receipts must be submitted for any reimbursement.

5. All checks disbursed must be approved by Executive Board.

Article X – Dissolution

1. Disbursal of Records and Assets: If WHCG should be dissolved, its property, funds and other assets shall be transferred by decision of the Executive Board to an organization or organizations whose purpose is to promote community gardening and are exempt under section 501(C)3 at the time of dissolution.

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