Community gardens offer many benefits both to individual participants and the community. Community gardens can:
Gardening Matters is a nonprofit organization that works to promote community gardening in the Twin Cities. Their online resources section includes a detailed fact sheet on the benefits of community gardening and includes references to academic research in the area. Read the fact sheet.
The Royal Horticultural Society in Britain has conducted a review of the scientific literature on the environmental and health benefits of gardens and gardening. Two of the key findings are that gardens help keep cities "above water" by preventing flooding, and that they act as air conditioning systems for cities. Read their reports and recommendations.
According to the City of Boston's Open Space Plan, 2015-2021, Boston has 175 community gardens in 11 neighborhoods. The Commonwealth and the City own some, but most are owned by private or nonprofit groups. The gardens range in size from the Boston Parks and Recreation Department's Richard Parker Victory Gardens, located in the Fenway, with over 500 plots, to small neighborhood gardens with as few as 10 plots.Use the resources below to find a community garden close to you. Take down the address and contact information provided for the gardens you are interested in. Visit the gardens on your list. Ask questions. Discover the garden that is just right for you.
Boston Natural Areas Network merged with the Trustees of Reservations in 2014. the Trustees now have 56 community gardens under their protection, and act as a resource for all 176 community gardens in the Boston area. Visit the site to access their interactive map showing 56 active community gardens in Boston.
The Southwest corridor is a state park managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. Use their online application form to sign up for a space in one of the eleven community gardens along the Corridor.
The American Community Gardening Association is a bi-national nonprofit agency that works to promote community gardening. Access their map of community gardens at the link above. You can add your community garden to their map.
It's always a good idea to visit a garden before signing up with it. Try to visit at times the gardens are open and members are likely to be present, such as in the evenings or at weekends. Members will be more than happy to talk with you about the gardens and might even be willing to give you a tour.
When you're visiting, pay attention to:
All gardens are run slightly differently. It is a good idea to find out what the garden rules are, and what your responsibilities will be, before committing to a garden. When you contact the garden organizer, or talk to garden members when you visit the garden, here are some questions to ask:
The Fenway Victory Gardens are the oldest continuously operating Word War II Victory Gardens in the United States. Located in Fredrick Law Olmsted’s famed Emerald Necklace, over 500 gardens spanning 7.5 acres are tended by a community of more than 350 members from every neighborhood in Boston, reflecting the diversity of our city and its rich history and culture.