- Plots of land owned by local governments, non-profits, or other groups that are dedicated as a gardening space for public use on a membership basis
- Often converted from vacant lots, allowing cities to make use of neglected land
- Aim to boost access to and consumption of fruits and vegetables, reduce food insecurity, obesity, mental health
- Intend to increase sense of community, improve neighborhood safety, and encourage physical activity
Strength of evidence
Evidence level: Strong (second-highest tier)
Strong (second-highest tier)
Ranked as having the second-highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps
Outcomes and impact
- May impact fruit and vegetable access and consumption and other healthy eating, physical activity, obesity, and mental health/social connectedness issues
- May improve neighborhood property values and safety
Keys to successful implementation
- Note: This content is under review
- Community gardens often struggle to receive adequate funding, participation, land, and materials, including water access.
- When possible, community garden planners should establish and secure garden space by integrating community gardens into urban park systems.
- Materials such as seedlings and compost should be distributed to communities.
- Experts recommend cover crops to improve soil quality and nutrients, soil testing and guidance, and perennial plants to provide habitats for non-pest insects.
- Vertically grown crops can produce higher-yield harvests.
- Legislation can be enacted to allow cities and counties to create incentive zones in urban areas, providing landowners with a property tax break for urban agriculture or community gardening activities.
- Public and nonprofit partnerships can be created, including partnerships with land banks that donate property or help develop community gardens.
- Organized groups of gardeners can use education, advocacy, and grassroots organizing to preserve and create community gardens.
- Community gardens can serve as spaces for educational programming, which should be provided in multiple languages for diverse populations.