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How To Start A Community Garden!


Hi my name is Ashley, I’m new here to the community. I currently run a food pantry for my community and I’m looking to expand into other things such as, an community garden. I just want to get some insight on how to go about doing this. Any advice will be much appreciated. Thx


ACGA has lots of resources available on our website, to help you along the way with the process of starting a new garden.

Here are some resources we find especially helpful:

Keep us posted on how things go!


My church developed a community garden 3 years ago, 100 raised garden beds. It has been very successful. Last year the development groop at the church published a 35-page “How to Build a Community Garden” guide. If you’re interested, I can send you a copy. bill @ petrarca . net


Ashley, just out of curiosity, what part of the world are you in?

I believe strongly in the “Power of One” but for a community garden I feel strongly in the power of a small steering committee. That should be your first step.



Hello, Ashley! There are so many wonderful resources out there. For a community garden, the most important piece is the community, which makes it very different from a production-centric garden/market garden.

A few years ago, Denver Urban Gardens put together a handbook outlining how to start and maintain a community garden. There are examples of forms, cost estimates, etc. included. Here is a link: The handbook is downloadable. Please let me know if I can be helpful with this process. Best, Shannon Spurlock


Hello Ashley, A community plot garden where folks rent plots and grow their own food is different from a community garden that grows food for a food pantry or other food security work. Though both are labeled community gardens, they have very different goals and therefore are run differently. There is a hybrid model where folks in a community plot garden donate some of the produce they grow to local food security efforts. A great model of this is the Dr. John Wilson garden in Black Mtn, NC -

If you’re interested in a model where the food is grown together and not in plots and the all the produce given away, feel free to write me at Lastly, we wrote a 171 page manual for gardens that give away food. If you’re interested, it’s available through our website -


Hi Ashley, I see you’ve already generated some great feedback here, so I won’t repeat what everyone else is already saying. However, I did want to say, you have taken the most important first steps: seek counsel! Gather information. Begin as you mean to go on.

One of the most important tips I can give you from what I have learned so far in our community garden is to FIRST assess the amount of buy-in and interest you have from other people. Be willing to yield some of your thoughts of the perfect community garden to the interests and ideas of your other members, and you will have a LOT more sustained participation and cooperation. I cannot stress how important this is for your future happiness and sustainability. Though it doesn’t seem like a step, it really is foundational.

May you have good success an wonderful buy-in!


Sorry for the delay in response, I appreciate this information!!!


Awesome, I will check it out!!!


Yes that will be great, the more info the better. Especially since your church is doing what I want to do for my church. You can email it to be to


I’m in Pennsylvania, so Northeastern !!!


This is very helpful, especially for helping me to estimate the cost .


OK then. I’m guessing that since Philadelphia has had such a strong community garden program for so many years there may be legislation in place framing out a system for chartering new community gardens. You’ll want to make sure you are complying with whatever permitting requirements they have in place.

If the garden is to be on site at the food pantry, on private land that is primarily used as a food pantry or place of worship, you may be exempt from some requirements. I just don’t know the rules in Philadelphia that well.

Good luck with it!


On the “cost” thread: To quote a famous community gardener, “Building a community garden in a city/county park you need to at least double the budget that it would take to build the same garden on private land.” I wish I could remember who said that. Bill Maynard maybe? Jack Hale? Somebody who seemed to know what they were talking about, or at least was good at bluffing.



hello, do you mind sending that document to me at
thank you

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