Northampton Community Garden

COVID-19 Policy Update

Notice from Northampton Parks and Recreation

The City of Northampton is monitoring the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic closely and working with public health officials to reduce its spread. The City urges residents to practice good health habits, stay home when you or a member of your household is sick, keep a safe physical distance from other people, and take other precautions to protect yourself and others from the virus.

Our Community Garden provides many residents opportunities for physical exercise and, most importantly, the ability to grow food for themselves and their families. We are reminding all gardeners to exercise caution as you begin to work in your plots to prepare for this year’s growing season.

For the time being, the Community Garden on Burts Pit Road will be allowed to remain open. But, we need your cooperation in order for the Garden to remain open this season.

Please, read carefully and follow these guidelines:

  • Through at least the month of April, please limit your time in your plots to the minimum amount of time you need to be there — but not more than two hours per day.
  • The Health Department and Parks and Recreation Department want to make sure the number of gardeners on site at any time is kept to a minimum, to keep us within Governor Baker’s guidelines.
  • Please remember that, for everyone’s safety, this is a time for physical distancing, not a time for social interactions at the Garden — even as we’re all happy to greet our Garden neighbors after a long, challenging Winter.
  • All events at the Garden, whether by gardeners or those from outside are prohibited. This means no picnics, parties or other gatherings, no bird or butterfly walks, no workshops – even if those gatherings have less than 10 people.
  • STAY HOME if you are showing any symptoms or if you’ve been in contact with someone who is sick. Even if it’s just a stuffy nose, please stay home.
  • We also encourage gardeners to STAY HOME if you are considered more vulnerable to exposure to the virus (older adults and people of any age who have known underlying medical conditions).
  • WEAR GLOVES while you are on site and gardening.
  • Everyone should WASH THEIR HANDS upon entering the garden and upon exiting. For the time being, please bring your own soap
  • WEAR A MASK at the Garden if you have one.
  • Practice PHYSICAL DISTANCING and stay at least 6 feet away from others.
  • BRING YOUR OWN TOOLS. The tool shed will remain locked until further notice.

Please stay safe and remember that the virus can be passed even by people not showing symptoms.

And, please, stay home as much as possible!

From Northampton Parks and Recreation Director, Ann-Marie Moggio, and
Larri Cochran and Betsey Wolfson, for the Northampton Community Garden Committee

March 19, 2020 Update

Dear Gardeners,

Here’s the latest information about things happening at the Garden, a request to help keep the Garden safe, and a reminder about changes in planned Garden events.

Of course, all of this is due to the Massachusetts State of Emergency and the City of Northampton’s COVID-19 response. As you are all aware, the situation with the coronavirus continues to evolve and there are no firm dates for when the current restrictions will be lifted.

New Plots for Current Gardeners

  • The closure time for the Northampton Rec. Dept. has been extended to three weeks and could possibly be longer.
  • With no one at the office there is no way to process registration forms or payments, so we are also unable to assign new plots to current gardeners at this time.
  • As soon as we know the Rec. Dept. will be re-opening, we will begin to reach out to everyone who has requested additional or new plots for this year.
  • It’s always a lengthy process, but we will still contact all current gardeners who indicated they would like an additional or new plot before we begin to register new gardeners.

Tool Shed Closure

  • Guidance from the CDC and other agencies has suggested varying times that the coronavirus is able to remain alive on different surfaces including steel, plastic, wood, and cardboard. In some cases it seems to be hours and on other surfaces it might be days.
  • That means that gardening tools may be carriers for live virus whether someone used them this morning or days ago.
  • Until we have more science-based information about the virus and understand how best to manage tool use, we will be closing the tool shed.
  • We understand this will be a hardship to some gardeners, but our greater concern is everyone’s health, keeping the Garden as safe as possible, and in helping to prevent the spread of the virus.

Social Distancing and COVID-19 Community Behaviors

  • As the entire country is currently in some form of self-isolation, we are still encouraged to “get outside, take walks, garden.” However, we need to be mindful of how we interact with each other when we’re doing those things.
  • The Garden can seem like a big open place, but gardeners often end up in close proximity to each other as they talk, share tools, etc.
  • Because the virus that causes COVID-19 seems to spread by close human interaction, we all need to remember to maintain a distance of 6ft or more from each other while we’re at the Garden.
  • Also, please don’t share tools. Remember to wear gloves and to wash them.
  • And please respect the boundaries of other gardeners as we all figure out how to move through this situation.
  • You can refer to CDC guidelines to better understand how the virus is spread, how to protect yourself, how to protect those around you and what to do if you get sick.

New Gardener Sign-Up Day Has Been Cancelled

New Gardener Sign-Up Day, which was scheduled for this coming Saturday, March 21st has been cancelled. And all new gardener registrations will be postponed for at least three weeks.

The registration period for new gardeners, when it happens, will be handled electronically, on an individual basis and through the Rec. Dept. There will not be a single event.

We’ll send out and post more details as we have them.

New Gardener Orientation Has Been Cancelled

New Gardener Orientation has also been cancelled. Again, once the COVID-19-related meeting restrictions have been eased or lifted, we will re-evaluate the needs of our new gardeners and plan an orientation or informational meeting accordingly.

Right now we have no idea when that might be.

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.

Other Garden Events

  • For now, the dates for Opening Day, Provisional Inspections, the Clean Plant Sale, and all other Garden events will remain the same.
  • However everything is subject to change depending on the progression of the coronavirus and the federal, state and city policies put in place in response to it.

We will continue to be in touch as soon as we have new information. Stay safe, wash your hands frequently and remember that Spring begins on TOMORROW!

Larri Cochran & Betsey Wolfson
for the Garden Committee