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The purpose of the Vamos Sembrar community garden is to provide a green, restful, beautiful and safe space for gardening. This space is for the community to enjoy. The garden will be open as often as possible and will be made available to serve as a public space for neighborhood meetings, social gatherings and other activities.
To become a member of the garden one must volunteer 50 hours to the garden and attend 3 garden meetings. These hours may be fulfilled during any open hours or garden events. A sign-in sheet will be available in the garden shed for documenting these hours. They may also be reported directly to a member of the steering committee. After completing 50 volunteer hours and attending 3 garden meetings, members will receive a key to the garden gate, and access to the tool shed. Members may not share, loan or give their keys to those who are not garden members. Existing members must participate in a minimum of 3 meetings and volunteer a minimum of 10 hours per season to maintain membership.
For all votes taken at regular garden meetings which pertain to any garden issue or business, a quorum of members must participate. A quorum is defined as "50% plus one" of the general garden membership at the time an election is held or a vote is taken, in order for the results to be valid. (By-Laws and Guidelines votes are excepted; see below.) Results of any vote will be determined by a simple majority of those voting. For any given vote, the general membership may cast votes via email or by proxy, if someone cannot attend a meeting. "Proxy" is defined as a Garden member in good standing giving permission for another Garden member to cast their vote. This proxy vote may be cast via email to a designated Steering Committee member (see below) or in person.
There will be one official meeting per calendar year--the Annual Meeting--to elect the Garden's Steering Committee. The date of this meeting will be determined by the Steering Committee. Members must attend this Annual Meeting. Regular Garden meetings for the general Garden membership and interested community members, will be held monthly, April through October. Meeting times and dates will be posted on the Garden bulletin board, and members will be notified by email and phone at least 7 days in advance of any meeting.
Up to eight Garden members in good standing will be elected by a majority vote of general Garden members in good standing to serve on the Steering Committee for a term of two years. Any member may sit on the Committee for a total of three consecutive terms. Any Garden member can be a candidate. New Committee members will be nominated at a regular monthly Garden meeting, at least thirty days before the Garden's Annual Meeting. The list of nominees chosen by general Garden members will serve as the ballot. The ballot will be available in the Garden within three days following the nominations.
Members will vote by checking off the names on the ballot. The ballots will be submitted, and the votes counted, at the Garden's Annual Meeting. Board members are elected by a simple majority vote, and members can also vote by proxy
The Steering Committee will decide how often it needs to meet to effectively coordinate and oversee the work of the Garden. At a minimum, the Steering Committee agrees to meet once a month throughout the season, and also in advance of the general Garden meetings. If a member misses more than three meetings in a given season, that member is subject to be removed from the Steering Committee, according to the removal procedures in Item VI below.
If a Garden member volunteers to take responsibility for a Steering Committee task, the Steering Committee, with approval of the general Garden membership at a regular monthly meeting, may assign such task to such member-volunteer.
Any Garden member may call a special meeting as deemed necessary, but any one member may not call a special meeting more than once in a 3-month period.
The Steering Committee will consist of up to 8 community garden members. Tie votes on any given issue, or unresolved conflict on the Steering Committee, will be decided by the general Garden membership in simple-majority voice vote at the next regularly scheduled monthly Garden meeting, or at a specially scheduled meeting, if necessary.
If any part of the general Garden membership feels that one Steering Committee member is not carrying out responsibilities adequately, the general Garden membership may choose to remove this Steering Committee member. The member or members moving to remove this Steering Committee member would have to make the case before the general Garden membership at a regular monthly Garden meeting, and the general Garden membership would then be allowed to ask questions. The Steering Committee member being challenged will be given time to respond. A vote for removal would take place at the next regularly scheduled monthly Garden meeting, or at a specially scheduled meeting, if necessary. Members may vote by proxy.
If any part of the general Garden membership feels that the Steering Committee as a body is not carrying out responsibilities adequately, the general Garden membership may choose to disband the entire Steering Committee. The member or members moving to disband the Steering Committee would have to make the case before the general Garden membership at a regular monthly Garden meeting, and the general Garden membership would then be allowed to ask questions. The Steering Committee will be given time to respond. A vote to disband would take place at the next regularly scheduled monthly Garden meeting, or at a specially scheduled meeting, if necessary. Members may vote by proxy. Any member of a disbanded Steering Committee would be eligible to run again once three planting seasons, over the course of three years following the disbanding, had passed.
By-Laws and Guidelines may only be changed at the Annual Meeting. The required quorum for purposes of voting to amend the By-Laws and Guidelines must be a minimum of two-thirds of the general Garden membership. Results of this vote will be determined by a simple majority of those casting votes. Motions to amend the By-Laws and Guidelines must be made at the regular monthly meeting prior to the Annual Meeting. These proposed amendments will be posted in the Garden and will be announced in an email to all Garden members at least ten days prior to the Annual Meeting. Members may cast votes via email or by proxy if they cannot attend the meeting.
All motions made at a regular monthly Garden meeting will be voted on at the next monthly meeting. The motions must be announced to the general Garden membership by being posted in the Garden or sent via email.
A contract will be signed by each Garden member whereby she/he agrees abide by the By-Laws and Guidelines of the Garden. Members also agree to keep the Garden open ("open hours") for a minimum of two sessions or 10 hours each season. A session can include a weekend session, up to five hours, or a weekday session, up to four hours. A member may opt out of their open-hours obligation by getting another Garden member to cover this responsibility.
Members agree to protect the independence of the Garden. Garden members agree to be stewards of this property, to assume the legal right to make Garden decisions and to take on the responsibilities for maintaining the Garden's autonomous status as a legally registered GreenThumb garden. Should a Garden member threaten or challenge this independence, they will be subject to expulsion. Actions that compromise, threaten or challenge the Garden's autonomy include, but are not limited to, advocating a merger of the Garden with any other New York City community garden or green space.
If any Garden member charges a fellow garden member with violating any part of the By-Laws and Guidelines, this member would have to make the case before the general Garden membership at the next regular monthly Garden meeting, and the general Garden membership would then be allowed to ask questions. The person charged with the violation will be given time to respond. A vote for expulsion would take place at the next regularly scheduled monthly Garden meeting, or at a specially scheduled meeting, if necessary.
Should the garden decide to incorporate at any point as a non-profit entity, the Garden will create an official Board of Directors, and/or assign officer titles, if necessary, to satisfy legal requirements for incorporation. The decision to incorporate will be voted on by the general Garden membership, which vote will follow the same voting procedures as outlined above in Paragraph 7.
In case of an emergency, the Steering Committee can make interim decisions, which are not binding. Final decisions will be made at the next monthly Garden meeting through a vote by the general Garden membership.
When in the Garden (or communicating over email), all Garden members, Board members and visitors must behave in a manner that is respectful toward adults and children. Disrespectful behavior that will not be tolerated includes spitting, yelling, pushing and hitting people, throwing things, or any behavior that reasonably constitutes verbal or physical abuse, (including written insults.) Should someone in the garden (or over email) be engaged in disrespectful behavior as defined here, they will be asked to leave the Garden (and stop communicating with members over email). A Garden member accused of disrespectful behavior is subject to expulsion.
All Garden members agree to abide by the following:
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