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LIVING EARTH CENTER

Community Garden COVID-19 Guidelines

The Living Earth Center is committed to the health and safety of all gardeners and staff and will abide by all state health guidelines regarding the use of the Community Garden space and equipment. As the situation evolves, these guidelines may be updated and we will remain open as long as it is safe to do so. We are grateful to share this resource in a time when we need to connect with each other (from 6 feet away) and the land. Living Earth Garden is not only essential for food security and mental health, but also provides access for those hardest hit during this crisis.

That said, in order to prevent the spread of the virus, we ask that all gardeners follow the guidelines below.

Updates

  • The Community Day of Service on April 25th to open the Garden has been canceled in addition to the Garden Meet and Greet Trainings. An online webinar will be held on Wednesday, April 22nd at 5:30 PM to discuss updates. An email will go out with the link for the meeting. 
  • If you are a new gardener, please schedule an independent time to meet with Laura Peterson to be assigned a plot.
  • The Living Earth Community Garden will officially be opened beginning Tuesday, May 5th, 2020. This is due to the state health officials’ recommendations that community gardens stay closed until May and to abide by the state wide issued "stay at home order," through May 4th. If the stay at home order is extended, the Garden will remain opened as long as it is safe and lawful to do so. 
  • Operating hours of the Garden will be 9:00 AM- 8:00 PM, with one hour reserved from 8:00-9:00 AM for those over the age of 60, expectant mothers and people with underlying health conditions to use the Garden. 
  • No person will be allowed to enter or be in the Garden if they have not 1) signed a liability waiver, and 2) signed a garden contract with updated COVID-19 Guidelines. Forms can be found at this link and once completed can be emailed to livingearthcenter@ssndcp.org or placed in the black mailbox in the Barn. 

General Guidelines 

  • As in any circumstance when you leave your house, you are risking potential exposure to the virus. The Minnesota Department of Health recommends people who are 65 and older, or people of any age who have underlying medical conditions should stay at home. 
  • If you are sick or have symptoms associated with COVID-19 (cough, fever, sore throat) or have been in the vicinity of someone experiencing these symptoms or testing positive for COVID-19, please do NOT enter the Garden or the Barn.
  • It is both our moral and civic responsibility to follow the guidelines below not only to keep ourselves safe, but also to keep our neighbors safe. If there are recurrent challenges following these guidelines, individuals will be asked to leave the Garden and forfeit their plot.
  • All gardeners who are not residing within the same household should maintain at least 6 feet distance from one another.
  • There shall not be any more than 10 gardeners on each side of the garden at one time. This means that if you come to the garden and see 10 people on your side of the garden, please come back at a different time.
  • In accordance with the MN Department of Health recommendations, we ask that only one gardener come per family into the garden at one time. If this is not possible, we ask that families do NOT bring children under the age of 18 and limit the number of people coming at once to no more than two people.
  • There will be a hand washing station outside of the barn beginning May 5th. Please wash your hands upon entering the garden and before leaving the garden.
  • In accordance with the CDC recommendations, all gardeners are encouraged to wear a mask. For information on how to make your own mask, please see this link
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • No person will be allowed to enter or be in the garden if they have not 1) signed a liability waiver, and 2) signed a garden contract with updated COVID-19 Guidelines. Forms can be found at this link and once completed can be emailed to livingearthcenter@ssndcp.org (preferred), mailed to Living Earth Center, 170 Good Counsel Dr., Mankato Mn 56001,  or placed in the black mailbox in the Barn. 

Use of Tools

  • Gardeners are encouraged to bring and use their own tools and gloves if you have them. 
  • We will be reducing the amount of community tools to decrease risk of infection. Tools will be cleaned and sanitized after Garden closure or before garden opening. 
  • Bleach solution will be provided at all watering stations and in the Barn for cleaning tools, pumps and watering cans.
  • If you must use shared community tools including but not limited to shovels, garden forks, wheelbarrows, watering cans, etc., please wipe down the tools with the bleach solution provided both BEFORE and AFTER use.
  • We encourage all gardeners to use their OWN gloves while gardening. Garden gloves should be disinfected or washed after use.

GATES AND WATERING STATIONS:

  • There will be bleach solution provided at all watering stations. Please spray down handle (or wherever you have touched) BEFORE and AFTER use.
  • During opening hours the electric fence will remain on, however, the gates of the garden will be open.

We understand that these guidelines may serve as an inconvenience for many. We appreciated your patience and understanding as we navigate these unprecedented times. We are grateful that we are able to open the garden this year, and hope that all gardeners remain safe and healthy.