Code of Ethics:
It is the desire of COGS that the community gardens made available for COGS members will provide a display of the practical application of organic principles, and a splendid example of co-operative endeavour.
To this end, the garden committees are behoven to administer the gardens in a manner which promotes a spirit of harmony, fairmindedness and goodwill amongst garden members. Likewise, individual plot holders are to conduct themselves in a manner which promotes this same spirit, a spirit viewed by COGS to be essential to a true sense of community wellbeing.
The rules set out below are to be used by all community gardens operating under the auspices of COGS to standardise the way in which gardens are to be administered. It is not the intention of COGS to micro manage the individual gardens, but it is the desire of COGS that the community gardens should by the use of these general rules, be able to provide a splendid example of co-operative endeavour and a good corporate image and to display the practical application of organic principles.
- Garden members must be financial members of COGS.
- Organic garden principles must be complied with at all times in the community gardens.
- The OPAC National Standards, COGS rules and the individual garden rules should be read before any new member takes up a plot in any community garden.
- The members of each garden must democratically elect a Garden Convenor (chairperson) and a garden committee, consisting of a levy collector (where appropriate) and such other members as may be necessary. The names of these people and the positions to which they have been elected should be given to the COGS Secretary at the time of the local election.
- Garden convenors shall be informed of agenda items to be considered at meetings of the COGS committee which affect the community gardens and garden convenors shall be entitled to attend meetings of the COGS committee and may exercise a vote on garden matters.
- Each garden must have a democratically agreed set of garden rules, which should be endorsed by the COGS committee and not be inconsistent with these general garden rules. A copy of current garden rules for each community garden should be held by the Secretary of COGS.
- In the first instance, infringements of the garden rules should be dealt with by the garden committee. However, if unresolved these should be brought to the attention of the COGS committee by the garden convenor for resolution by whatever means the committee determines necessary, including use of a mediator where appropriate.
- Garden convenors should act as mediator in resolving disputes in gardens where possible.
- One garden committee member for each garden should be responsible for equitable plot allocation and keeping a register of plot holders, a list of vacant plots and a listing of applicants for plots and for the safe keeping and allocation of garden keys. All members must inform the plot allocator when plots are no longer required and ensure that their key is returned when they no longer have a plot in the garden. At no time can plots be transferred between members without the approval of the garden committee and the keys should never be given to non members.
- Community garden rules may make provision for a maximum plot allocation and any
such restriction must be written into their garden rules. No exceptions shall be made
for individuals and all members should be treated equally.
- Plot holders should not interfere with other plots or other members’ property.
- Members may not remove tools, implements, hoses, etc (which are the property of COGS) from any garden without the express permission of the garden committee.
- Damage to, or unauthorised removal of garden equipment should be reported immediately to the garden committee and, where necessary, reported by that committee to the appropriate authority.
- Plot holders and other members are responsible for the actions of their children, pets and guests.
- Garden committees shall make rules restricting the access of dogs and cats to community gardens.
- COGS members should only be a member of one community garden unless they can establish that they are transferring from one garden to another.
- Plot holders shall not grow produce for commercial sale or engage in other commercial activities at the garden.
- Garden committees may determine specific rules in relation to appropriate matters, including:
- fires and burning off;
- levies, but note that no levies may be collected without prior notification in the COGS newsletter of the nature and amount of the specific levies;
- disposal of rubbish;
- cultivation of canes and other invasive species, including prohibition of particular plants;
- maintenance, including working bees, and emergency procedures; and
- use, cleaning, repair and replacement of garden equipment.
- It is the responsibility of the last member leaving a community garden to lock gates and sheds, regardless of whether or not that member opened them or used garden equipment.
In the use, administration and enjoyment of community gardens members should note that it is good policy to leave gardens in a better organic condition than you found them.