Published by City Farmer, Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture


Community Gardens and Urban Farms

[Slackerland] (C) Copyright: City Farmer

People often call our office looking for a community garden plot to rent. Others call wanting advice on how to set up such a garden in their neighbourhood and want the names of books to help them plan what they envision.

No central government body administers community gardens in Greater Vancouver, a city of nearly two million. Each site has a unique history and is autonomous. A site with ten plots leased year by year might run with no charter, whereas another with 400 plots is structured formally as a non-profit society.

Community Gardens in Greater Vancouver and Victoria
Updated June 17, 1998
Where are the gardens and who do you call?

Canadian Community Gardeners Listserv.
Subscribe by emailing cancommgardens- with the word "subscribe" in the subject line.

Growing Vegetables on an Allotment - based on our experience of an allotment in Leeds
"Welcome to our allotment diary - some of the things we have learned over the last few years on our plots on the Seacroft Hall Allotment site. Sadly, after two seasons in which our plots were trashed by vandals, we are moving to a different allotment site. We're getting back to growing enough organic vegetables to be self-sufficient for most of the year - with all the pleasures of starting afresh!" Posted June 15, 2004

The Fitzwater 2000 Garden Association
"The residents, in partnership with Philadelphia Green/PHS, cleaned and fenced theses lots and turned them into an award winning Community Garden-one that has won city wide recognition in each of the past eight years." Posted March 30, 2004

Nanaimo Community Gardens
"The Nanaimo Community Gardens Society maintains educational and therapeutic gardens, as well as common land for all those who wish to get involved. The gardens are located are located at 271 Pine Street, behind the Foodshare Centre.". Posted November 16, 2003

Cawston Community Garden in Kelowna BC
"Three plots are designed for wheelchair access (6'x2') and 10 plots are designed for general access (4'x4'). The Committee will be alloting plots based on need and availability.". Posted November 16, 2003

The Garden City Handbook
PDF download. "Over the past two years, Greater Victoria has lost two of its precious community gardens to development. The Handbook provides a description of the current context and circumstances of community gardens across the region. ... It offers a range of alternatives for ensuring that community gardens are protected and provides community groups with guidance for starting gardens and ensuring that they thrive over the long term." Posted August 20, 2003

Seeds of Success
PDF download. "Cities across Canada and the United States offer models for creating and maintaining community gardens. Seeds of Success reveals the range and breadth of possibilities for integrating community gardens into the fabric of communities and protecting these gardens from development. ... Within smaller cities, including Inuvik, Waterloo and Bloomington, local governments and nonprofit groups are adapting community gardens to the specific needs of their citizens." Posted August 20, 2003

New Village Journal: Premier Issue: Community Gardens
Reclaiming the Sacred Commons (Full article in Acrobat PDF format, 370K) by Karl Linn
The Death of Little Puerto Rico: New York City Gardens Plowed Under by Urban Development by Sarah Fegusen
Brief History of Grassroots Greening in New York City by Sarah Fergusen
Resources: Community Gardening
Updated May 3, 2003

The Richmond Fruit Tree Project
"Plums, apples and pears are picked from August through into October from the gardens of Richmond residents. A fruit tree registry and a fruit identification program are in the works." Posted February 13, 2003

The Victoria Fruit Tree Project
The Nelson Fruit Tree Project
Posted October 30, 2004

527 Michigan Street, Victoria, BC, Phone 250-385-PICK http:/// Earth Matters PO Box 746, Nelson, BC V1L 5R4, Phone: (250) 352-2140, Fax: (250) 352-214, Email:

Growing Gardens
"We serve the St Johns, north, inner north/northeast and outer southeast low-income areas of Portland, Oregon. Requests for gardeners come by word of mouth, presentations to groups such as the WIC (Women, Infant and Children) programs, as well as strategic contacts made by staff to housing agencies such as the Housing Authority of Portland and local public schools." Posted September 15, 2002

Jerusalem Cityfarmers
"Jerusalem Cityfarmers is a network of people from Jerusalem's diverse communities working for ecological use of our shared resources - in Jerusalem, in our bioregion, and our planet. We believe that every individual and community has untapped potential to create local solutions." Posted July 28, 2002

The Gardeners' Collective
"The Gardeners' Collective seeks to establish and cultivate organic community gardens on University of Toronto land and rooftops campus to feed those in need by donating produce to local food banks, and to act as models for urban agriculture and environmental education. " Posted July 9, 2002, 2002

Tam O'Shanter Urban Farm (UK)
"Jacko the Donkey was born in 1996, and came to the farm on the 11th December 1998. He is a very temperamental donkey - sometimes sweet and gentle, other times naughty and rough! If he comes over to you he might like to be stroked. Watch out if his ears go back: he may be about to be naughty!" Posted June 19, 2002, 2002

Community Greens: Shared Parks in Urban Blocks
"Community greens are shared parks tucked away on the inside of residential blocks. They are collectively owned and managed by the neighbors whose homes and backyards, decks, patios, and balconies enclose the green.These secret gardens bring neighbors together as they care for and enjoy their community green." Posted April 21, 2002

Whose Garden Is It?
Governing Magazine/March 2002 - "Community gardens can help turn neighborhoods around. It's their very success that threatens them." - "The city accuses garden activists of being insensitive to the need for low-income housing; the activists say their views are being misrepresented. The city, says Aresh Javadi, director of a group called More Gardens, 'makes it sound as if it's housing versus gardens. That's wrong. It's both housing and gardens.'" Posted March 27, 2002

The History of The Allotment Gardens in Copenhagen
"The allotment garden movement peaked during the Second World War with lOO,OOO gardens. After the war prosperity increased and the allotment gardens flourished. In the l960's however, when a private car became within reach for some people in Copenhagen, one just had to have a summer house, preferably on the North Coast about lOO kilomet- res away." Posted November 22, 2001

Nuestras Raíces Organization
Nuestras Raíces is a grassroots organization that promotes economic, human and community development in Holyoke, Massachusetts through Urban Agriculture. Posted November 13, 2001

Green Thumb
"The largest community gardening program in the USA, GreenThumb is proud to support community gardens in New York City. We have over 650 member gardens serving 20,000 city residents." Posted May 13, 2001

Film About Community Gardens in Los Angeles
"Sweat Equity" is a collection of urban stories about community gardening activity occuring on the alleys, back lots, freeways and utility corridors of metropolitan Los Angeles. Posted May 7, 2001

Games for Community Gardeners
"Gaia's Garden" - 4 gardeners plant vegies in their organic garden; bugs want to destroy the crops and predator insects help the gardeners."
"Youri's Pea" - How to grow a pea plant with the help of soil, water, air and sun. Wildlife in and around the garden interferes with the plant growth. Posted May 7, 2001

A Survey of Community Gardens in Upstate New York: Implications for Health Promotion and Community Development
"Community gardens involve the main characteristics that have been described as important for health promotion in minority communities; these are social support, an emphasis on informal networks, and community organizing through 'multiple change tactics'". Posted March 1, 2001

Action Communiterre
"Action Communiterre is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to social and environmental development through the establishment and operation of collectively-managed vegetable gardens. We run 10 organic gardens, known as the Victory Garden Network, in the Notre-Dame-de-Gr‰ce area in Montreal." Updated May 28, 2006

People, Land & Sustainability: the home page of community gardening
"This site was initially set up to provide information for an international conference: 'People, Land & Sustainability: new directions in community gardening' held in Nottingham, UK, in September 2000. The web site remains as a meeting point for those who attended the conference and for all those involved with or interested in community gardening. " Updated November 27, 2001

Earth Celebrations
"Earth Celebrations' programs include: theatrical pageants, educational art and ecology workshops for youth and adults, artist residencies, exhibitions, web-site, video programs, creative advocacy campaigns, and partnerships with schools, community centers, and gardens. Since 1991, Earth Celebrations has been working to preserve the network of over 50 community gardens on the Lower East Side of New York City through innovative and creative programs, pageants, and workshops. " Updated August 27, 2000

Update...New York Community Gardens Threatened With Destruction
New York gardeners are battling to preseve their community gardens as City Hall attempts to auction off city owned lots, on which many gardens rest. Various sources. "...By 3:15 a.m., the police began towing away cars on the street, while the protesters gathered around a fire. By 7 a.m., the crowd of protesters had grown to 150. They chanted: 'New York City has got to breathe. More gardens, more peace.' " Updated August 27, 2000

NYC Community Garden Mapping Project
"The Council on the Environment of New York City announces the launch of the NYC Community Garden Mapping Project interactive web site. The maps on the web site show detailed information about community gardens and open spaces within the context of their surrounding neighborhoods -e.g., vacant lots, abandoned buildings, schools, housing, etc." Posted March 16, 2001

Troy Community Gardens Journal Collection
"What the deer see here is a confusing fence of strange vertical branches and unexplainable straight lines of twine. And inside, where a great variety of food is growing, the hanging shirts of the children, parents, and grandparents who work in the plot during the day are filled with the breath of the nightly breezes." Posted August, 2000

Entrepreneurial Community Gardens: Growing Food, Skills, Jobs and Communities
By Gail Feenstra, University of California, Davis; Martha Goodlett, Van Ho Cultivating Communities Program, Seattle; Steve Garrett Washington. "Production: All projects grew fresh vegetables and a little less than half also grew fresh flowers because of their higher market value, especially when made into arrangements. Almost half of the projects (44%) used some of their garden produce to make and sell value-added products. Much of this occurred on site, but some utilized commercial kitchen space and other neighborhood facilities for production. Almost 104 of the projects sold landscaping services, contracting with individuals or the city, as another way to raise revenue." Posted June 2, 2000

Gateway Greening
"Since 1984, Gateway Greening has helped transform neglected and abandoned lots in St. Louis into productive gardens and beautiful landscaped areas. Our mission is to provide resources and training to neighborhood groups who believe in their communities and want to reclaim them from urban decay." Posted November 23, 2000

"South Eastern Efforts Developing Sustainable Spaces, Inc. (SEEDS) is a non-profit urban gardening and community building organization based in Durham, NC. SEEDS was created to challenge and support neighborhood residents, community activists, city government and corporations by bringing community groups together to transform vacant land into productive, community-controlled spaces." Posted July 21, 2000

Southside Community Land Trust (SCLT)
"Located in South Providence, Rhode Island, SCLT is committed to the belief that city dwellers are entitled to a healthy environment. SCLT's community gardens produce food and the opportunity for better nutrition and greater self sufficiency. These gardens provide open and healthy urban space, transform blighted vacant lots, and offer recreation to individuals and to families." Posted April 27, 2000

The National Society Of Allotment And Leisure Gardeners Ltd. (NSALG)
Posted March 20, 2000
The National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners is the representative body for Allotments in the UK. With over 80,000 members and 1600 affiliated societies it is the largest and most respected organisation of its type in the country. [Current Membership (1999) is 80,000 members in 1650 Associations, 1700+ individual members, 96 Local Authorities.] Allotments are being built on EVERY DAY in EVERY part of the country. NO Allotment Site can now be considered safe! There has been a fall in allotment provision of over 40% in the last two decades.

< FONT SIZE="4">The Allotment and Vegetable Garden Ring Home Page List
Posted March 20, 2000

Victoria Jubilee Allotments: An Allotment In Danger!
An English allotment garden fights developers. Posted March 21, 2000

Plant a Row - Grow a Row
"The Grow-A-Row program started in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1986, initiated by Ron and Eunice O'Donovan. That was the year that they produced more potatoes in their backyard garden than their family could consume. They decided to donate the excess to the local food bank, Winnipeg Harvest. Their idea was met with such enthusiasm that the O'Donovan's decided to encourage their friends and neighbours to also donate their surplus produce. Since then, over 1.4 million pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables have been given to Winnipeg Harvest through the Grow-A-Row program." Posted May 15, 2000

Toronto Community Garden Network
Updated November 30, 2001
The Toronto Community Garden Network is working to encourage a healthy community gardening movement in the City of Toronto, linking and supporting community gardeners. We are an organization of 80 member gardens and over 300 individual members.

Posted August 2, 1999
LifeCycles, 527 Michigan Street, Victoria, BC V8V 1S1
Phone: (250) 383-5800
Home Grown, Growing Schools, Community Suport Agriculture, Community Gardens, Sharing Backyards, Demonstration Site, International Partners, Garden Training Project, Events.

Protest sprouts at party:
Uprooting of community garden stirs furor during Mardi Gras celebration.

Posted March 13, 2000
"The protesters were upset because a Tower District businessman had bulldozed a lot that was being used as a community garden to feed the hungry and homeless. "

Berkeley Community Gardening Collaborative
Posted July 16, 1999
"The BCGC brings together diverse members of the community around a common commitment to urban agriculture and access to healthy food for all residents of Berkeley. We are gardeners, teachers, community activists, students, nutritionists, writers, public office holders and others who share ideas, knowledge, vitality and resources to increase local food production and improve nutrition."

Boston Natural Areas Network: Community Gardening in Boston
Posted October 10, 2003
"Boston Natural Areas Network helps coordinate activities related to all of the Boston area's 250 community and school gardens, involving over 10,000 individuals and families, many of them low-income."

The Food Project
Posted January 26, 2000
" Each year, through The Food Project's innovative programs, hundreds of teens from Greater Boston grow and distribute nearly 40,000 pounds of fresh organic vegetables and in the process gain the skills and knowledge they will need to be active and engaged citizens working for a just society and a sustainable environment in the 21st Century."

Sacramento Community Gardens
Posted April 30, 2000
"Sacramento's economically depressed, ethnically diverse neighborhoods are among those trying to use community gardening as a way to foster entrepreneurial skills and local pride. At Grant High School in Del Paso Heights, for instance, about 30 students are devoting much of their leisure time to watering, weeding and planting their year-old garden."

Jardin dans tous ses états
Posted July 22, 1999
Le "Jardin dans tous ses états" est le nom d'une dynamique d'échanges entre les porteurs de projets de "jardins partagés" et leurs partenaires associatifs, politiques et institutionnels. Ces jardins sont divers, mais portent des valeurs communes de partage, de créativité, de solidarité entre les communautés, d'aide aux personnes en difficulté, de liens retrouvés avec le monde vivant, de respect de notre environnement...

'NSW (New South Wales) Community Gardens', Australian City Farms and Community Gardens
Updated March 13, 2000

Long Beach Organic
Posted June 18, 1999
Long Beach Organic (LBO) is a not-for-profit organization involved in turning vacant lots into beneficial green zones throughout the City of Long Beach. They have just announced the start of Project GROW, a 21 month, $18,000 pilot project in partnership with Interval House, a local battered womens' shelter program. Funded by the California Department of Health Services, Project GROW aims to establish a model program for statewide women's shelters that will provide healthy food, horticultural therapy, gardening skills, nutrition education and job skills.

Green Guerillas
Posted June 16, 1999
"Since 1973 Green Guerillas has helped thousands of people realize their dreams of turning vacant rubble strewn lots into vibrant community gardens. Each year we work with hundreds of grassroots groups throughout New York City to strengthen underserved neighborhoods through community gardening."

Here's a new Community Garden Forum for you to take part in.
Updated November 30, 2001

Melbourne, Australia Community Garden
Posted March 27, 1999
"For a small annual fee, public housing tenants rent their own plot and work it in any way they wish. The Collingwood gardens provide 120 plots and the Fitzroy gardens 60 plots. Gardens with approximately 130 plots are being developed in the Richmond public housing estates."

Alex Wilson Community Garden
Posted March 5, 1999
Toronto garden named after activist landscape designer. "We must build landscapes that heal and empower, that make intelligible our relations with each other and the natural world."

Seattle Tilth Association
The Seattle Tilth Association began in 1978 when neighbors sharing a vision for an urban agriculture and living environment joined together to remove a bleak expanse of asphalt and to breathe life into the soil beneath. Today Tilth is involved in establishing and promoting sustainability in many ways, from classes for children and adults to radio shows.

SLUG - The San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners
SLUG's founders felt a pressing need to support those interested in urban greening, neighborhood beautification and local food production in San Francisco, the nation's third most densely populated city. Since it's inception in 1983, SLUG has grown to an organization with 24 full-time staff that coordinate programs which empower communities and individuals with education and employment.

Denver Urban Gardens
"DUG operates and assists with the creation and management of over 60 metro-area community gardens and small parks. DUG's mission is to support transformation of vacant lots into vital community open spaces. These gardens have become a community focus for producing food, neighborhood activities and education programs for over 20,000 individuals annually."

< FONT SIZE=4>Lead Contamination in the Garden
Posted June 4, 1999
Areas Around Your Home You Should Be Concerned About

Greening of Harlem
Posted February 23, 1999
"In Harlem, there are 1500 vacant lots and 1800 abandoned buildings. There is a major compelling reason to reclaim this land."

Community Gardens in Prince George B.C.
"There are 25 individual garden plots; each is a 5 ft by 20 ft raised bed. There is also a communal herb garden, a large communal bed for potatoes and squash and other sprawling plants and a special educational garden for the local elementary school."

Great ACGA Publications
The American Community Garden Association (ACGA) has published two of their excellent publications on the web, "Starting a Community Garden" and "What Good is Community Gardening". They are must reads!

Community Garden LISTSERV
"The University of Arizona has created an email list serve to connect people who are interested in sharing information about Community Gardening." Look at the bottom of the excellent ACGA Links page.

Philadelphia's Southwark/Queen Village Garden
"Southwark/Queen Village gardeners produced $45,000 worth of vegetables, herbs and fruit in 1996 according to a formula providedby the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The average gardener produced $643 worth of food for family and neighbors." See their community garden by-laws!

Report on Community and Allotment Gardening in the Greater Vancouver Region, April, 1997
Norm Connolly, working closely with City Farmer, has produced a timely overview of the mushrooming development of Vancouver community gardens.

Garden Policy Approved: Vancouver Park Board approves a unique community garden policy. Spring, 1996

Community Gardening: A Vancouver Perspective

Community Gardens: Sample Rules and Regulations

The Earth: Plant a City Garden
Sylvia Ehrhardt explores solutions for Apartment dwellers and other city and suburban residents who don't have access to land suitable for raising fresh produce. [In Dig Magazine]

Northwest Territories' Community Garden
"Our greatest advantage is the long day length: June 21 has 21 hours of daylight and we only start to get a true night by mid-August."

Politics of Community Gardening in Germany
Lecture given by Professor Gert Gröning at the 1996 ACGA conference in Montreal. [8500 word document (56K) published on one page.]

At City Farmer, on our computer, we keep an ever-changing list of allotment gardens, their location, total plots available, size of beds, rental cost, and contact person. This quickly lets us know if there is something suitable for someone who is looking for a plot.

Many people aren't near an existing site so we will suggest they try to share a garden with a neighbour or look for a vacant piece of land which they can make into a community garden.

Books on community gardening/allotment/vacant lot gardening don't remain in stock in bookstores for long after publication so a library is usually the best place to find them. At City Farmer we have a wide collection of materials to choose from.

Here's a new Canadian book:


These two are old standards on HOW TO.


There are also books that look at the WHY of community gardening. This is a new one from the US.

This study focuses on gardens in Great Britain.

And still others which emphasize the HISTORY like this Canadian book.
Community gardens and publications about them are beginning to come on-line. Here is the start of that migration.


But by far the largest collection of information on this subject can be found amongst the membership of the American Community Garden Association (ACGA), a great bunch of people from such organizations as BUG (Boston Urban Gardeners), SLUG (San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners), the Green Guerrillas and Operation Green Thumb in New York City, Seattle's P-Patch, and Philadelphia Green.

In fact, among the veterans of this association (15 year members), you will find the world experts in all manner of urban agricultural lore. If there are those that can be considered professional urban agrologists this is where they network.

The ACGA hold a yearly conference, publish both a regular newsletter called the Multilogue, and a comprehensive journal first named the Journal Of Community Gardening, now renamed the Community Greening Review.

They sometimes produce special publications such as Case Studies of Entrepreneurial Community Greening Projects by Katherine Frohardt, 1993. As well, they publish a Membership Directory, and have a comprehensive 125-slide show accompanied by a printed script.

100 N. 20th St 5th floor
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1495, USA
Phone: 215-988-8785

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Revised July 12, 2006

Published by City Farmer
Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture