Insurance for community gardens

There are several options available to insure your community garden.

New community gardens are often advised to obtain liability insurance. Some landowners may even require it. Many think that insurance is a good idea considering the nature of most gardening activities. However, it should be noted that liability insurance typically does not protect the gardeners themselves in case of injury, but only protects the organization that owns the garden or the landowner in case they are sued.

While there are several instances where liability insurance can be helpful to a community garden an individual policy for a new community garden can be a financial hardship. Creative alternatives may be more cost-effective. For example, if the garden is part of a larger organization such as a city, school, church community group or neighborhood association, the garden’s liability policy can sometimes be added on to the organization’s existing policy. In March 2006, New York City stopped requiring liability insurance for the community gardens located on city-owned property and the City would now extend municipal liability protection to community gardeners.

Another possibility is that the private landowner may be willing to add the garden liability to their policy if the cost is picked up by the garden. For those with an entrepreneurial spirit, you may want to try to partner with a neighboring business or organization and see what you have to offer in exchange for liability coverage. If none of these options fit your specific situation, you may want to consider the liability insurance offered by the American Community Gardening Association –for more information see their insurance information page – however, you must be a member to qualify. While the author does not claim any expertise in liability insurance, all of these options must be discussed with a knowledgeable and trusted insurance agent. For more information about community gardens, contact your local Michigan State University Extension office. 

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