Welcome to the Ranch!
Before making the commitment to active membership we recommend getting to know us first. Come to a workday, or stop by and ask any gardener you see what active membership is like. When you are ready please take the time to read the Membership Agreement below in detail and then fill out the Membership Submission Form below. Someone from the Ranch will get back to you soon and we appreciate your patience in advance. We are all volunteers and it might be awhile. Details on other membership tiers are below inside the form. Thank you!
We are a community group planting plants and ideas at a previously underutilized space in New York City. Our goals include demonstrating appropriate technologies as functional and educational tools, regeneration of strong urban ecology and building cohesive community through fun, outdoor interaction.
About the Garden
The Ranch is a hub of activity throughout the growing season. We offer growing workshops, ecology classes, cooking classes, garden tours, art activities, exercise and meditation classes, and social events. We are always looking to add more programming based on community and membership interest.
The Ranch is also a community compost center, collecting food waste from across Western Queens. Our compost operation is maintained by the members and we hope that everyone gets involved in composting as this is one of the Ranch’s biggest projects.
Hours: Unlike many other community farms and gardens, the Ranch is not gated. This is a community space that is open to the public all year round and at all hours, however, we do caution members and visitors to take extra care when visiting the ranch at night.
Contact: If there is an emergency inside the Garden, call 911. For a non-emergency, contact the Ranch at smilinghogsheadranch [at] gmail [dot]com. All new members will also be invited to the Google Group and Slack which can be used to contact other members and access the member calendar.
Social Media: The Ranch has an active social media presence on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We encourage members and visitors to post to these sites.
General Ranch Rules
The Ranch is meant to be a welcoming space for everyone. Profanity, racist, sexist, genderphobic, or homophobic language will not be tolerated.
We welcome kids on the Ranch and hope they enjoy their time learning about the plants and animals that call the ranch home. If you have kids under the age of 12, we ask that you supervise them closely as this is a working ranch with tools that could be hazardous to young children.
To ensure that there are no scheduling conflicts, we ask that all events be approved in advance by the membership or the Board of Directors. If you have an idea for an event, please email the membership or come to the monthly membership meetings.
Any accidents that result in injury or damage to property or equipment should be reported to smilinghogseheadranch[at]gmail[dot]com within 24 hours of the incident.
Members really are the backbone of the Ranch (nothing would get done without them!). As a member, we ask that you take an active role in not just the maintenance and the upkeep of the garden, but be a part of our community. We hold monthly membership meetings during the growing season, and all are encouraged to attend and share ideas.
Membership is contingent upon payment of $35/year and completing two work days. Once these requirements and fulfilled, members will receive a key to a gang box with tools and gloves.
Growing at the Ranch
The Ranch does not have designated plots for each member, but rather, the site is organized by consensus among the members. We ask that all members assist with the maintenance of the ranch, including planting, watering and weeding. Members are encouraged to harvest reasonable amounts of produce from the garden (i.e. for yourself and your family).
The Ranch is committed to growing produce only through organic practices. Organic growing is best for human and environmental health. No synthetic fertilizers or pesticides are permitted in the garden. Organic compost produced on-site and purchased from outside sources is an excellent resource for producing healthy plants that are good for us, animals, and our surrounding community.
Maintenance and Structures
The Ranch owns and maintains a modular unit that stores our tools and other property. Members should take care to keep the unit tidy and the tools cleaned, orderly, and locked in the unit to prevent theft.
Building green infrastructure is also an important part of the ranch. Among other things we have meeting areas, seating, and a rain catchment system. We encourage members to become involved in helping design and built within the ranch, however, we ask that all building work be approved by the membership or Board of Directors prior to building.
Termination of Membership
We hope that our members will be with us for a long time, but understand that people’s lives may take them in other directions. If you are no longer able to be a member of the garden, we ask that you inform the group by emailing the membership committee and returning your keys to the storage unit.
Release and Indemnity
Members assume any and all risk of liability for losses, damages, personal injury and/or death which may be suffered or sustained while on the premises. Members shall release and hold harmless The County of Queens, Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Long Island Railroad, and Smiling Hogshead, Inc., and their respective members, officers, agents, and employees, from and against any and all claims and liability for any loss, personal injury (including death) or property damage which may be suffered by the member while on or about the premises.