Community Garden

BLHD Community Garden and Urban Orchard

The BLHD Community Garden and Urban Orchard was established in July 2020 to convert blighted areas around the "Lot C" parking lot into an urban-agricultural neighborhood asset.

If you are interested in volunteer opportunities, please add your name to the community garden communication list found here:

If you are already a volunteer, please enter your service hours on the garden volunteer log found here:

Planning information from the original project can be found here:

Please review the approved BLHD Community Garden Operating Procedure below to learn more about the garden and orchard.  The procedure can also be found here:


BLHD Community Garden and Urban Orchard

Operating Procedure

Effective: March 7, 2022


The purposes of BLHD Community Garden and Urban Orchard Standard Operating Procedure are:

To ensure the BLHD Community Garden and Urban Orchard is sustained in perpetuity through volunteer efforts.

To effectively manage the day-to-day and long-term planning requirements for the garden.

To create a standard operational administrative reference.

To define roles and responsibilities for the administration of the garden.


This BLHD Community Garden Standard Operating Procedure applies to all activities at the Lot C garden locations.




The Betts-Longworth Historic District Group Board of Trustees is responsible for approval, revisions, publication, garden coordinator appointment, and oversight for this operating procedure.

The Community Garden Coordinator is responsible for 1) maintaining documentation associated with the operation of the garden (volunteer hour logs, receipts, etc.); 2) coordinating (scheduling) volunteers for seasonal events; 3) responding to inquiries about the garden; 4) maintaining a calendar of proposed events and activities; 5) assigning volunteer work as needed; 6) serving as a liaison with the Civic Garden Center, West End Farmer’s Market, West End Community Garden, Hays-Porter student garden, and City of Cincinnati Department of Urban Agriculture; 7) serving as a spokesperson for media coverage; 8) writing and providing support (content) for grant proposals; 9) assembling and distributing food donations to non-profit charitable organizations (e.g. West End Farmer’s Market, La Soupe, Freestore Foodbank); 10) serving as a subject matter expert for horticulture and garden administration; 11) securing and maintaining adequate water in the tank; 12) securing and maintaining gardening tools; 13) procuring (and growing) seedlings to be planted in the communal garden areas.

The Community Garden Volunteers are responsible for 1) reading and understanding this procedure; 2) performing sufficient volunteer hours to meet their defined level of commitment; 3) sharing experiences from the garden with others; maintaining any areas of assigned responsibility (watering, pruning, weeding, litter removal, etc.); 4) working in a safe manner (e.g. lifting using legs and not back, wearing gloves, etc.); logging their volunteer times and dates.


This procedure will be audited on a five-year frequency.


Garden Areas. The Betts-Longworth Historic District Community Garden and Urban Orchard consists of 1) a raised bed area (southwest corner), 2) a fruit tree and foraging garden area (east border), 3) miscellaneous planting area (northwest fence line), 4) and pollinator area (at flagpole).

1) The raised bed area consists of six beds, vertical growing areas on the fence, and a strawberry patch on the ground in the northern point between the fences. The beds will be assigned on an allocation rubric defined below. The vertical growing areas on the fence may be assigned to individual volunteers (if requested) or used as communal foraging areas.

2) The fruit tree area is a communal foraging area where fruits and vegetables may be picked and consumed by anyone. This area contains education signs about the various fruit trees and foraging garden. Volunteers will help maintain this communal area (e.g. litter removal, weeding, planting, etc.).

3) The miscellaneous planting area consists of a narrow strip between the parking lot curb and the fence on the north side of the flagpole. This area has limited growing potential due to size and light conditions. The garden coordinator will determine usage for this area each season to maximize its output and benefit to the community.

4) The pollinator area consists of one raised bed a few feet south of the flagpole and a small perimeter around the flagpole. This area will be utilized for flowering varieties of plants to ensure the other areas of the garden are properly pollinated. The garden coordinator will work with volunteers to determine plant selections and to maintain the area.

Allocation Rubric. The allocation rubric for assigning raised beds for personal use shall be used to ensure fair practices in the garden. It shall also serve as a tool to ensure sustainment of the entire Betts-Longworth Historic District Community Garden and Urban Orchard through volunteer efforts.

Rubric: Raised beds 1 – 5 will be assigned to individuals who agree to volunteer a minimum of ten hours a garden year (April to April) at the communal areas of the Betts-Longworth Historic District Community Garden and Urban Orchard and agree to maintain any assigned bed for personal use. Time spent on personal beds shall not be counted toward the minimum volunteer requirement. Volunteers shall record the dates and times of their volunteer activities on a virtual log accessible via a link on the website.

If there are more than five individual requests for beds, beds will be assigned to the five individuals with the most volunteer hours the previous year. The top five volunteers may share a portion of their assigned beds to individuals who did not receive a bed. The five individuals shall select their specific beds as a group with unanimous consensus. This group selection shall ensure the most optimized usage of space (e.g. some beds are larger than others and single-member households may prefer a smaller bed). In the event unanimous consent is not reached, the beds will be randomly assigned via a method approved by the Board of Trustees.

Bed 6 shall be assigned to the Garden Coordinator each garden year. This bed received a City of Cincinnati Urban Agriculture grant for construction of a cold-frame top and has special operational requirements during extended season growing times. The Garden Coordinator will ensure compliance with grant requirements and shall use a portion of the bed to produce items for donation to the West End Farmer’s Market.

C. Garden Coordinator. The Garden Coordinator volunteer position shall be elected by the Board of Trustees to serve a three-year term. The vote shall be at the February meeting in the final calendar year of a term. The Board of Trustees may appoint a replacement Garden Coordinator to complete a term due to a vacancy.

D. Non-compliance. The Garden Coordinator may reassign a bed if its assigned volunteer does not keep it maintained with basic watering and pruning. The reassignment shall go to the individual with the sixth highest volunteer hours the previous garden year. If volunteers do not want a bed, the bed may be assigned to a non-volunteer with preference given to those who live in an apartment or condo without access to space for planting.