Gardening for Life!


2013GPSCCSept 3 (15)

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 Food Bank".


  • 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 for non-gardeners.


  • 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 offence. 
    All thefts will be reported to police. 
    To rent a plot email:  [insert community garden email address]



  • 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 hello.


Remove temptation:

  • Water theft: lock up water equipment like sprayer nozzles and hose.
  • Tools: Lock up large garden tools, chain wheelbarrow.   Purchase only second hand tools from garage sales.  Gardeners must supply their own hand tools.
  • Install motion detection lights and / or a camera to deter night-time produce theft.

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