Legal and Policy Resources for Gardeners

Legal and policy issues are often less visible than other challenges or opportunities that arise within a garden. Dig, Eat and Be Happy: a Guide to Growing Food on Public Property by ChangeLab Solutions provides a framework for some of these issues to make the process feel more accessible and, hopefully, more enjoyable.

Section 2 breaks down common types of agreements, including important distinctions between leases, licenses, permits, joint use agreements, and informal agreements. In Section 3, the authors explain issues of liability, utilities, maintenance, growing practices, contamination, access, security, and improvements in relation to the common agreements. Section 4 provides information relating to food production on school district property. With continued school budget cuts harming aspects of our schools, a healthy food-producing system on school campuses could create powerful benefits for students and communities! To conclude, the guide lists resources for multiple categories such as fundraising and joint use agreements.

ChangeLab is a think tank that focuses on law and policy innovations for the common good. Here, they presents a range of advice beginning with how public agencies can be an ally for your project. Click HERE to access the guide.

Other online legal resources for gardeners can be found here:, a wiki site maintained by the Sustainable Economies Law Clinic (Garden Justice Legal Initiative maintains the land access section).

The Urban Agriculture Law Project, A legal blog maintained by Becky Lundberg Witt.