Land Share COVID-19 Safety Protocols

About COVID-19

COVID-19, or Coronavirus, is a new, highly contagious respiratory virus that is 3-4 times more dangerous than the common flu.

It is transmitted when people breathe infected droplets in the air, or touch their mouth, eyes, or nose after contact with an infected surface.

The virus is able to survive up to 72 hours, possibly longer, on various surfaces.

Not everyone who has the virus gets sick, and some people can be infectious for several days before getting sick. This means that people who seem healthy can infect others without knowing it. Waiting until someone is obviously sick before taking precautions will lead to the virus spreading faster in our communities.

The most important thing we can do to protect ourselves and our communities is to slow down the spread of infection by minimizing exposure. This will help prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed by too many cases at once, and allow them to provide care to those who need it.

Some reliable sources of information about COVID-19:

Safety Practices for Maine Land Share 

The following Safety Practices are designed to help slow down the spread of infection by minimizing the chances that any one of us will accidentally contract or spread the virus while sharing land or gardening.

1. Carry a personal sanitation/protection kit with you at all times. This kit should include: 

  • Hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, or a container of very soapy water with cloth
  • Extra rags to wipe down tools and other surfaces
  • A plastic bag for used wipes or rags
  • A mask (if possible)

2. Be extra cautious. Do not assume that anyone else is following these Safety Practices. Do assume that you, and others around you, may be carrying the virus without knowing it. 

3. Practice regular, careful sanitation

  • Wash your hands frequently. Soap is very effective at killing the virus. Alcohol (60-70% concentration) is also effective. You can carry your own “hand washing station” by keeping very soapy water in a tight container with a washcloth or brush inside (but remember to disinfect the outside of the container, too!). 
  • Cough or sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue that fully and tightly covers your mouth. Dispose of the tissue immediately and remember the virus can live on your sleeve and be transmitted to others that way. 
  • Minimize touching, and be very aware of what you touch. Try to avoid touching your face, and only touch other surfaces and objects when truly necessary. Assume that all surfaces may be sources for infection. 
  • Sanitize all surfaces before and after touching. Use sanitizing wipes or a clean cloth with a spray bottle of sanitizer. Wash reuseable cloths regularly. 
  • Be careful with gloves. Gardening gloves can help us work outdoors and remind us not to touch our faces. But gloves do not replace proper hand sanitation procedures. The outside of your glove can transmit diseases from one surface to another, including transmitting the disease to yourself and others. If you use gloves, put them in a plastic bag after use and wash hands immediately. Wash gloves thoroughly in hot soapy water or washing machine. 

4. Maintain physical distance

  • Maintain at least 6 feet between yourself and others. If you’re not sure what this distance looks like, you can imagine someone you know who is 6’ tall lying down between you, or you can measure and cut a 6’ stick or board and keep it on display at the growing site. 
  • Try to avoid carpooling to the gardening site. If you must carpool with people you are not self-isolating with, wear facemasks and take strict precautions about sanitizing all surfaces. 
  • Limit the number of people working in the garden so that safe physical distance can be easily maintained. 

5. Stay home when sick. Do your best to avoid contact with others, and seek medical advice and testing if possible. 

  • Don’t forget that people who do not show any symptoms can still transmit the virus, so don’t wait for someone to get sick before taking precautions. 

6. Be safe with tools and other equipment

  • Try to avoid sharing tools, and if sharing is necessary be sure to sanitize them before and after each use. 
  • Do not leave personal tools in the garden, and do not pick up tools left by others without sanitizing them before and after you touch them. 
  • Sanitize all hoses and spigots before and after use. 

7. Choose a community “reminder” word. It’s easy to forget to follow some of these practices, and we may need friendly reminders. One easy way to do this is to agree on a word (humor is good!) that everyone can say to each other as needed, which means “don’t forget to follow the safety practices!” 

  • For example: you see someone passing a tool to someone else without sanitizing the handle. You call out, “banana!” and everyone knows that you’re reminding them to be more careful. 

Credits: Key language and ideas in this document are drawn from the work of the St. Mary’s Nutrition Center Lots to Gardens staff; and from Hannah Traggis of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, whose work was done in consultation with the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, the Community Food Security Coalition at Tufts, the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future Food Policy Networks, and the Boston Food System listserv at Tufts.