No space to garden? Community gardens give everyone a place to grow
Gardeners at work in Burlington's Community Teaching Garden, a hands-on gardening program designed especially for beginning organic gardeners. Course participants learn how to plant, cultivate, harvest, and preserve fresh vegetables. Since the program began in 2003, more than 120 gardeners have successfully completed the 22-week course.
The SEEDS Garden, located northeast of downtown Durham, NC, includes community garden plots tended by the local neighborhood and people from all over Durham, a cut-flower garden for the Durham Farmers' Market, composting facilities, a medicinal herb garden, a permaculture pond, an outdoor classroom, an eight-panel mural on a neighboring abandoned warehouse wall and an outdoor art gallery.
Marvin Dunn, founder of the Overtown Community Gardens, understands first-hand the impact of community gardens. Marvin sees the Miami, FL, gardens as an important force for rebuilding community. "We started growing vegetables and fruits to give away to hungry people in the community but the real purpose goes beyond beautification or feeding the hungry." Many of the people in Overtown are considered "unemployable," but these gardens give people a chance to learn skills, make money and help their families.
The Generation of Good Hope Community Garden in Dorchester, MA, has become a melting pot where members of the community from around the world can meet. "We have families of West Indian, Latin American, African-American and Asian descent all gardening together," says garden founder Ming Nagasawa. The garden is a great place to exchange ideas, cultures and food. "We have cookouts where people can bring different dishes to try, and to talk about gardening and life in their homelands."
WOULD you like to have your very own flower or vegetable garden, but need a place to plant it? Are you interested helping people in your town or neighborhood find a place to garden?
We support community gardening efforts through the Vermont Community Garden Network (VCGN) and the American Community Gardening Association (ACGA), a trusted gardening resource. ACGA is the oldest community gardening association in the United States and its mission is to help create sustainable community gardens by providing education and resources.
Find a Community Garden Nearby
ACGA has a directory of community gardens on its web site. Search by zip, city or state to find gardens all over the U.S. and Canada. The directory includes detailed information on each garden, including location, contact information, events and garden amenities.
Want to Start a Community Garden?
Growing Communities is a two-day, hands-on workshop where participants learn strategies that community organizers use to develop dynamic leaders and create strong gardening programs.
ACGA has created a series of tip sheets that feature best practices from community gardens throughout the country. Here are the most popular tip sheets, in PDF:
- 10 Tips for Starting a Community Garden
- 10 Tools Every Community Gardener and Garden Needs
- 10 Tips on Gardening With Kids
- 10 Tips on Local Advocacy
Want to Learn More?
You can help support ACGA's good work and receive their inspiring and informative newsletters by becoming a member — $45 annual fee. ACGA's annual Membership Conference brings together hundreds of people from across the United States, Canada and abroad who are engaged in all aspects of gardening and greening. The conference includes hands-on workshops, keynote speakers, a film festival, and visits to parks, school and community gardens.
Research on Community Gardening
The benefits of community gardening, such as creating open space and fresh food, can't always be measured quantitatively. But, did you know that community gardens can reduce crime and increase property values, especially in urban neighborhoods? For more information read ACGA's research on community gardens.
Gardener's Supply is a committed, long-term corporate sponsor of the American Community Gardening Association.
Vermont Community Garden Network volunteers at work in the Archibald Neighborhood Garden in Burlington's Old North End. VCGN provides guidance, technical assistance and mini grants to garden projects like this.