Community Garden Start Up

Community Garden Start Up

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, May 2008


There really are only positive effects of community gardening. It gives a community a gathering space, provides green space in urban areas, educates people -- especially children -- about the way the natural world works, and gives shelter to urban wildlife. It is also a place for people to grow their own food, and it provides a social network for reaching out to neighbors.

Community gardens originated in the first part of the 20th century as a way for immigrants who came from rural farmlands to urban spaces to continue to grow their own vegetables and keep a cohesive community. This was especially important as urban spaces rapidly grew. Victory gardens, which were popular during World War II, were considered community gardens. During the 1960s, eco-consciousness made community gardening a popular idea again in response to urban decline and decay. This is happening again in many parts of the country.


  1. Form a Planning Committee:
    -Find people who want to do it.
    -Decide what kind of garden you will grow, and who the garden will serve (youths, adults, or both).
    -Approach a sponsor or umbrella organization.

  2. Choose a Site:
    -Make sure the site gets at least six hours of sunlight a day if you are growing vegetables.
    -Do a soil test.
    -Look into the availability of water.
    -Try to get a lease for at least three years.

  3. Prepare and Develop the Site:
    -Develop a design.
    -Organize volunteer work crews.
    -Determine plot sizes.
    -Decide if the garden will be organic. -Include plans for a storage and compost area.

  4. Organize the Garden:
    -Determine the conditions for membership.
    -Decide how the plots be assigned, if the gardeners will share tools, and if there will be a children's plot.
    -Decide how the next gardener will be chosen when someone leaves a plot.


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