Northampton Community Garden

Closing the Garden to Non-Registered Gardeners

In our ongoing efforts to keep the Garden open, create a safe environment for gardeners and minimize the number of people in the Garden in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in response to increased reports from gardeners about theft in their plots, we requested that we be able to close the Garden to everyone except registered gardeners. Yesterday, the City approved our request.

This means that, as of today, only registered gardeners,
their co-gardeners and immediate family members
are allowed to be in the Garden.

  • Yes, the dumpster will still be taken care of.
  • Yes, we will have straw delivered.
  • Yes, gardeners may hire people to till/help with their gardens, but they must oversee those individuals.

To help all of us enforce this new policy, we will also begin
issuing laminated Garden ID cards to all gardeners
and co-gardeners early next week.

  • Please keep your 2020 Garden ID card with you at the Garden at all times. It will be designed so you can wear it on a lanyard, keep it on your keyring or in your pocket/wallet. Laminating them will make them both sturdy and waterproof.
  • Your entire family does not need individual ID cards. Just one per family and one for your co-gardener if they’re not a family member.
  • If you are gardening as a group, like the Master Gardeners and Tree Northampton, we will issue three group ID cards – not one for each individual group member.
  • Please don’t lose your ID cards or lend them to non-gardeners – we will re-issue them only in extreme situations.
  • No, this doesn’t mean that there will be someone at the Garden checking your IDs whenever you come to the Garden.
  • However it does mean that, going forward, if you see someone you don’t know in the Garden walking around/running through/not gardening/potentially cutting someone else’s flowers or getting ready to take something else – you can remind them that the Garden is closed to outside visitors and ask to see their Garden ID card.
  • If they didn’t know the Garden was closed or don’t have a Garden ID card (so they are not a registered gardener), politely ask them to leave the Garden – even if their purpose for being in the Garden is benign.
  • If they make excuses (e.g. “visiting a friend’s garden”), or otherwise resist or refuse to leave, they will now officially be trespassing. Please call the police at 587-1100 to report the incident.

Here’s the process as we get the Garden closure in place


  • We have posted the first round of laminated signs from the City Parks & Recreation Department advising visitors, runners, dog walkers, bikers and all others that the Garden is closed to everyone who does not currently have a plot at the Garden for the season. This policy will continue until further notice. (Linda, Blaise & Larri)
  • We are sending out this, all-gardener email, advising you all of this new update. (Larri, Betsey, Garden Committee)
  • We have sent out an email to the Village Hill resident groups advising them about this update to the Garden’s COVID-19 rules. (Arlene)

On Monday/Tuesday:

  • We will finish laying out and will laminate sheets of ID cards with gardeners’ names and plot #s. (Ann-Marie, Betsey & Larri)
  • We will prepare the cards (cut and hole punch) and the Rec. Dept. will begin mailing them out to gardeners. (Rec. Dept. & Larri)
  • We will add additional signs around the Garden. (Linda, Blaise, Larri)

On Tuesday:

  • Orange barricades and/or barrels will be placed at the Garden entrance closest to Village Hill, along the east road and along the back road with signs advising of the Garden’s closure. Similar barriers & signs are already in place at the other end of the Garden to close down the “not-a-dog-park.” (DPW)

REMINDER – Other Garden Events

  • For now, the dates for Provisional Inspections, the Clean Plant Sale, and all other Garden events will remain the same.
  • We will get back to you next week about possible timelines for having straw and compost delivered. Those deliveries will definitely need to be separate events this year.
  • Remember that all dates and upcoming events are subject to change depending on the progression of the coronavirus and the federal, state and city policies put in place in response to it.

REMINDER – Garden Committee Meetings

  • Garden Committee meetings, at least through April, will also be conducted digitally and not in person.
  • If you have something to discuss with the Garden Committee please email us or wait until we are back into our regular monthly meeting schedule.

We will continue to be in touch with new information as COVID-19 regulations, which are relevant to the Garden, continue to change and unfold. We understand this is an extreme measure, but the world is in an unprecedented place right now. Once, again, our objective is to continue to work with the City and keep the Garden open for gardeners.

We’ve also begun printing/posting Garden emails on the covered tool shed bulletin board and on the Master Gardener kiosk board so everyone gets the information.

Please stay safe and let us know if you have questions.

Larri Cochran & Betsey Wolfson
for the Garden Committee

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