Special Information for the 2014 Season

Earlier this year, CAC (Community Action Coalition for South Central Wisconsin, Inc.) announced that it would be ending its leadership role in providing oversight and support for Dane County’s community gardens, effective May 31, 2014. Groups representing community garden leaders, City and County agencies, and local nonprofits have come together to form an Ad Hoc Community Gardens Planning Committee to work through this transition. In addition to developing strategies and approaches to support thriving community gardens into the next decades, the Committee has taken on responsibility for ensuring that support is provided to community gardens throughout the 2014 season. Below you will find information relevant to this season’s special circumstances.

Website
This website has been developed as a transitional source of information. CAC’s website has been discontinued, though many of the informational resources developed by the CAC Gardens Program have been shared and made available on this website.

Central Point of Contact
For general garden inquiries, contacts for garden materials, or garden registrar information, Dane County residents may contact the Dane County UW Extension Master Gardener volunteers either on the Horticulture Hotline at 608-224-3721 or by email horticulture@countyofdane.com. These volunteers can also answer questions about plant care, identification, pest management, and more. Please note that the Horticulture Hotline is only staffed from May through October. You can also get in touch with us about your transition and future planning concerns at danecountycommunitygardens@gmail.com.

Group Email Lists
The existing Madison Area Community Gardeners (MACG) list will continue to provide a location for posting announcements and discussion with the garden community at large.

Garden leaders have requested another listserv to connect with other leaders and facilitate the sharing of ideas, challenges, successes and resources; it can also be utilized to provide timely updates during this transition period. The Madison Area Garden Leadership Forum has been created and access can be requested here.

Leases
Copies of existing leases, permits etc. have been sent to Garden Leaders; those involving CAC will terminate on December 31, 2014. The Transition Working Group is exploring how leases can be handled in 2015. All gardens should make a point of connecting with the parties to their lease prior to the end of 2014.

Compost
The public received notice that the Dane County Compost sites will close permanently on July 1st. For more information on the compost site closure, see the Dane County press release.

Until new City or County composting arrangements are made, compost much be purchased through private garden centers or landscaping supply companies, or produced on site by the gardeners.

Leaf Mulch & Woodchips
Garden Leaders will be responsible for placing orders for these materials by filling out a request form to submit by email to the appropriate City Streets Division staff based on your garden’s location. Please download this form to fill out your garden’s information, do NOT edit the online form. Leaf mulch and woodchips are free, and will be available throughout the growing season.

Water
Billing in 2014 will be handled by CAC as it has in the past; if you have any questions, contact CAC.
For routine water issues about an existing hydrant or hookup issues (e.g. minor leaks, end of season request for removal of hookup) call: Amy Jones, Water Utility Operations Clerk, at 608 -266-4647 or email ajones@madisonwater.org For major large leaks and problems, call the Water Utility’s 24/7 emergency number (608) 266-4661.

New Garden Fund
No new applications will be accepted in 2014. The City of Madison Community Gardens Committee, which administers the grant program, has decided to extend the moratorium on applications through 2015 because, without CAC or a successor organization in place yet, we lack the institutional infrastructure to insure that applicants would get the support they need for a successful project. As a result, no application materials will be made available this fall.

In late June, the Madison Community Foundation kindly agreed to continue holding the funds during this transition period, and to accept donation checks to the account. As a result, we’d like to ask that you continue donating 10% of your plot fees to the New Garden Fund this year. Please note the name of your garden on the memo line, make your check out to MCF New Garden Fund and send it to:

Madison Community Foundation
2 Science Court, P.O. Box 5010
Madison, WI 53705

Plant Donations
CAC continues to receive plant donations this season. Given CAC’s commitment to continue supporting food pantry gardens, the pantry gardens are being notified first when plants become available; if plants remain, the community garden list serve will be notified. Beyond 2014, CAC hopes to transfer plant donation contacts to another entity serving community gardens. Contact Wayne Morris for questions or to arrange for pick-up (call 246-4730, ext. 206 or email waynem@cacscw.org).

Seed Donations
CAC has seeds that can be picked up by anyone who wants them this season, but many are several years old and may not germinate well. Beyond 2014, CAC will not play a role in seed distribution unless new seeds are donated to them. Contact Wayne Morris for questions or to arrange for pick-up (call 246-4730, ext. 206 or email waynem@cacscw.org).

Translation Services
Contact the City Clerk’s office (266-4601) or utilize the Community Garden Leadership Forum for recommendations.