Produce may be stolen for a variety of reasons. People
may not understand or agree with the fact that produce grown in a
community garden is not for everyone to harvest.
Ask all gardeners to introduce themselves to anyone they see in
the garden. This will start a conversation and prevent people
who are not garden members from picking produce. Be generous
and give some of your produce to people you talk to about the beds
being for garden members only.
Preview City of Calgary sign bylaws
before posting any signs. All signs in community gardens must be
approved for content and location.
- Use picture signage that is large, well
presented with exact, unambiguous image and text to cross all
possible literacy and language barriers, where possible.
There is no legal recourse if there are no signs explaining who can
harvest the beds (including shared beds or tasting gardens).
- Place a sign stating that local residents who are
garden members harvest the gardens. Include
how people can become a garden member. Mention that the beds
are private for the person who rented it.
- Use signs to label tasting and food donation
gardens with phrases such as "Crops Here are Grown for the
- Post signs in several languages to indicate
where people can pick produce. Keep wording simple so that it
can be clearly translated into other languages.
- Include an article in the August / September community
newsletter about harvesting explaining that the community
garden is not for everyone to harvest.
- Plant raspberry bushes outside garden perimeter but
within garden leased area and mark clearly that they are
- Calgary Police Service recommends the following wording on
signs to deter theft of ripe produce:
"If You Didn't Plant It, Do Not Pick It
[insert image of stop sign]
Unauthorized picking is theft and a criminal code
All thefts will be reported to police.
To rent a plot email: [insert community garden email
- Invite youth to the garden to play acoustic music, to draw,
paint, photograph, create a weatherproof mural...
Make garden friends and allies:
- Engage students from schools and neighbourhood youth, people
active in nearby organizations, and residents who can see the
garden from their homes.
- Create a Youth Gardening Initiative targeting 10 to 16 year
olds in a program at the garden. Try social media to connect
with local youth.
- Ask Garden members to greet and talk to people passing by to
tell them about the garden, invite them to visit or to join the
garden. Make a personal connection conversationally with
everyone who walks by even if it is only to smile and say
- Water theft: lock up water equipment like sprayer nozzles and
- Tools: Lock up large garden tools, chain
wheelbarrow. Purchase only second hand tools from
garage sales. Gardeners must supply their own hand
- Install motion detection lights and / or a camera to deter
night-time produce theft.
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