GardenComm Policies

This section includes all of GardenComm's policies including; Privacy, Sexual Harassment & Safety and Conflict of Interest.

Privacy Policy

Effective May 2018

In an effort to maintain efficient service while respecting the privacy of those who visit the website of GardenComm (formerly Garden Writers Association or GWA) and correspond electronically with GardenComm, GardenComm has created and posted the following privacy policy. This privacy policy is incorporated into and is a part of the Terms and Conditions of Use below.

Information Collection and Use

We will collect personally identifiable information that you provide to us, including, but not limited to, your name, employer's name, address(es), telephone and fax number and e-mail address. GardenComm may use and store such information in order to notify you of official GardenComm business; provide a product or service you requested; secure your membership status; complete your online donation; analyze, evaluate, and improve member and prospective member needs and interests; alert you of GardenComm news, activities, courses and programs, services and benefits; and for other legitimate and lawful business purposes. Personally identifiable information may be given to a third party in order to complete a specific business transaction on behalf of GardenComm. Contact information from inquiries received by GardenComm may be shared with GardenComm members to provide a service, satisfy a question, or develop a prospective business relationship.

We may disclose personally identifiable information to the proper authorities if we become subject to a subpoena or court order, or if we are otherwise legally required to disclose such information. We also may use and disclose information about you to establish or exercise our legal rights, to enforce the Terms and Conditions of Use, to assert and defend against legal claims, or if we believe such disclosure is necessary to investigate, prevent, or take other action regarding actual or suspected illegal or fraudulent activities or potential threats to the physical safety or well-being of any person. If all or part of GardenComm is merged or otherwise transferred to another entity, we may transfer the personally identifiable information you provided to us to such entity as part of that transaction.

Registration and Order Forms

In order to enroll or register in a program; attend GardenComm events, meetings, or conferences; or request products or services; you may be required to fill out a registration or order form and provide personally identifiable information which we will use to process your registration or order. In certain circumstances, a program accessed through the GardenComm website may be jointly sponsored or co-sponsored with other organizations and registration may or may not be handled by GardenComm. In such event, this privacy policy will not apply – instead, such third-party’s privacy policy will be controlling. Please note that GardenComm is not responsible for the privacy policies of these other organizations (or their use of your personally identifiable or other information) and hereby disclaims any liability or responsibility in connection therewith. In addition, your name and information may appear on registration or attendee lists distributed at GardenComm events, meetings and conferences to other attendees and third parties. Please note that GardenComm provides Annual Conference sponsors and exhibitors with attendee names and postal addresses, not email addresses. Attendees are granted access to a list of the names and institutions (including countries) of other registered attendees.

Cookies and Log Files

Cookies are pieces of stored information used to provide smoother navigation throughout the GardenComm website, such as a saved password; to identify user trends, such as page views; and for other internal purposes, such as assessing the effectiveness of the GardenComm website. You have the option of setting your computer to disable cookies or to alert you when cookies are being used. If you choose to disable cookies, please be aware that portions of the GardenComm website may not function properly.


There are links to other websites throughout the GardenComm website. Please note that GardenComm is not responsible for the privacy policies of those other sites and hereby disclaims any liability or responsibility in connection with such linked sites.


Online registration and information such as credit card numbers will be secured using a commercially accepted method of encryption. However, while we employ reasonable security measures to protect your personal information, please be aware that no method of electronic transmission is completely infallible, and we cannot guarantee its absolute safety. If you become aware of any breach of GardenComm website security, please contact us immediately.

Updating Personal Information and Participation

You may contact GardenComm as set forth below to update your personally identifiable information, opt-in to, or opt-out of any service at any time. We will provide opt-in and opt-out opportunities as applicable to the service or product being offered.

Privacy Policy Updates

Should any changes be made to this privacy policy, we will post them on this page with appropriate explanation.

Acceptance of our Privacy Policy Terms

Using the GardenComm website indicates your acceptance of our privacy policy. Your continued visits to the GardenComm website after changes are posted to this policy will signify your acceptance of those changes.

Sexual Harassment & Safety Policy

GardenComm is dedicated to providing a safe, hospitable, and productive environment for everyone attending our events, regardless of sex, ethnicity, race, religion, disability, physical appearance, gender identity/expression, or sexual orientation. It is important to remember that a community where people feel uncomfortable or threatened is neither healthy nor productive. Accordingly, GardenComm prohibits intimidating, threatening, or harassing conduct during our conferences. This policy applies to speakers, staff, volunteers, and attendees. Conference and event participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the conference or event, at the discretion of GardenComm leadership.

Harassment of GardenComm participants will not be tolerated in any form. Harassment includes offensive gestures or verbal comments related to ethnicity, religion, disability, physical appearance, gender, or sexual orientation in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome attention. Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.

If a participant or exhibitor engages in harassing behavior, GardenComm leadership may take any action they deem appropriate, ranging from a simple warning to the offender to expulsion from this and future conferences and events. If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please do not hesitate to contact GardenComm staff who can work with appropriate GardenComm leadership to resolve the situation.

All complaints will be treated seriously, kept as confidential as possible and investigated fully.

GardenComm staff will be happy to help participants contact convention center/hotel/venue security or local law enforcement, and otherwise assist those experiencing harassment, to enable them to feel safe for the duration of the conference. We value your attendance, and want to make your experience as productive and professionally stimulating as possible.

Support for Justice and Equality

GardenComm encourages everyone not only to plant something, but to sow the seeds of love and inclusion, not hatred, prejudice or racism. We hear you and commit to doing our part to listen, learn and act as we move forward.

Authors Coalition Survey

GardenComm works with other groups as part of the Authors Coalition to distribute non-title-specific royalties from photocopies made outside the US. GardenComm's share of these funds for the coming year will be determined by our members' response to the Authors Coalition Survey provided by GardenComm. You will receive a link to participate in this survey in your confirmation email when you join, or in the month of February following your join date. You will only need to fill out this survey once.

Conflict of Interest Policy

When the volunteer leaders of GardenComm (formerly Garden Writers Association or GWA) are acting in their official capacities, their actions and decisions should be based on what they honestly and reasonably believe to be in the best interests of GardenComm.  Legally and ethically, this is what is expected of each volunteer leader. It is also what is expected by GardenComm members and other constituencies.  If the judgment of a GardenComm official is influenced by an outside interest, GardenComm may suffer harm directly from an ill-advised decision. But GardenComm can be harmed equally, if not more so, by the creation of a perception among members and others of inappropriate decision making. Especially for a nonprofit organization, reputation can be an invaluable asset.  Therefore, even if a volunteer leader believes that he or she can exercise independent judgment despite a conflict, and even if the official in fact does so, the perception that another interest or relationship may inappropriately influence their judgment can be injurious to GardenComm. [1]

Definition of “Conflict of Interest”
A conflict of interest exists when a volunteer leader has a direct or indirect[2] business, professional, or personal situation or relationship that might influence, or that might be perceived to influence, or that might be perceived to influence, the judgment or actions of the leader when serving GardenComm.  Conflicts of interest may arise under numerous scenarios, including but not limited to:

  1. Serving as an officer or director of another nonprofit organization in the general areas of interest to GardenComm.
  2. Receiving compensation (e.g., consulting fees, speaking or writing honoraria, etc.) from a company offering products or services related to the interests of GardenComm.
  3. Doing business with GardenComm or having a relationship with any company or organization doing business or wishing to do business with GardenComm.

The most fundamental concept in the area of conflicts of interest is disclosure. Those GardenComm officials subject to this conflict of Interest Policy must disclose all conflicts as defined above. It should be noted that the definition of conflict of interest adopted in this Policy includes any relationship that might influence or that might be perceived to influence the actions or decisions of a GardenComm official. Therefore, even if one believes that a relationship or other circumstance will not affect one’s judgment or conduct, if it could do so or if it reasonably could be perceived as having an improper influence, then it should be disclosed. Those covered by this Policy will have the burden of defending any decision not to disclose and therefore should err on the side of disclosure.

Disclosure shall be made on at least an annual basis in the first quarter of each fiscal year on forms provided by GardenComm. Completed forms will be shared with GardenComm Board of Directors, which may take such further action it deems appropriate. In addition, any relationship or circumstance that is created or arises in the interim should be disclosed to the Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of GardenComm as soon as possible, who will then notify the Board.

Finally, all those covered by this Policy have an obligation to bring to the attention of GardenComm any conflict or perceived conflict of any other GardenComm official also subject to this Policy.

Covered Officials

The following are subject to GardenComm Conflict of Interest Policy:

  1. Board of Directors and Officers
  2. Committee Chairmen and Vice Chairmen

Effect of a Conflict or Perceived Conflict

  1. Once a conflict of interest arises, in addition to disclosure, the person with the conflict should use their best judgment as to whether and to what extent they should recuse themselves from deliberations, voting, decision making, and other participation with respect to the matter at issue, and whether they should resign from an office or position.  In making this determination, the best interests of GardenComm should be the sole criteria.  The Board of Directors may require full or limited recusal or other measures, including resignation from a GardenComm office or position.
  2. Any conflict of interest involving a proposed contract or transaction between GardenComm and the person with the conflict shall be submitted to the Board for approval. The Board shall determine by a majority vote of the disinterested directors whether GardenComm should enter into the contract or transaction because it is in GardenComm’s best interest. If appropriate, the Board in its discretion may appoint a committee to investigate alternatives to a proposed contract or transaction.

Intent of Policy; Violation of this Policy
This Policy is intended to supplement but not replace any applicable state laws governing conflicts of interest applicable to non-profit corporations. Violations of this Policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including removal from a GardenComm office or position and expulsion from GardenComm.

[1] It should be emphasized that conflicts of interest are not inherently illegal or unethical, nor should they be interpreted as reflecting upon the integrity of any GardenComm official. Further, it is not the purpose of a conflict of interest policy to prevent volunteer leaders from having business or other relationships. Rather, it is the manner in which a conflict is addressed which determines the propriety of the situation.

[2] E.g. through a close family member or a business associate.

Contact information

If you have questions about these policies, please contact us at:

9825 Magnolia Ave. Suite B-415 | Riverside, CA 92503 (T) 951-899-5015 |

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