Suprising Garden Cities
Even in cities where it seems like the biggest patch of garden comes in a windowbox, or in cities better known for high rates of murder or snow, communities have designed public gardens where neighbors produce fresh fruit and veggies, while satisfying their green thumbs.
These gardens not only extol the virtues of fresh, local (and often organic) foods, but they also bring communities together. Certain community gardens produce food specifically for those in need, others have youth programs and some have even been credited with reducing crime rates. Many community gardens sign up members in the fall, so find your local garden and reserve space for next year.
In the meantime, take a tour of the best community garden cities in the U.S.
3. Long Beach
4. St. Paul
There are 17 community gardens in the city and about half of the gardens are run by non-profits and the other half are open to the public with plots available to rent.
The program has a summer Horticulture Academy as well as a job training program that teaches green living tactics to about 40 kids a summer. The Pioneer Press, St. Pauls newspaper holds an annual Golden Bloom award that honors the best community garden in the city.
6. San Jose
8. Washington D.C.
University of Maryland horticultural students run the Master Peace Farm program that tends to the Washington D.C.-area gardens (just outside the city). The group also mentors budding vegetable growers at the adjoining middle school. The 22 community garden plots are assigned to neighbors for $10 per year but the money is returned if the gardener sticks with it for the whole season, so the plot is actually free. Also free are the tools, water and vegetable starts, which are grown in the program and delivered to the garden. The main gardens produce is sold at the local farmers' market.
The individual gardens have different roles within the community. Some of the plots are tended by individual gardeners whereas others are owned by charities that produce fresh food for those in need. There are also community teaching gardens that partner with local schools to supply outdoor learning spaces and classes on sustainable living.