Community gardens are small plots of land allocated to groups of people by some organization that holds title or lease to the land, sometimes for rent, sometimes simply as a grant of land.
Community gardens run from 5'x5' plots to as much as 25'x25' plots. Usual sizes are in the 10' x 10' to 15' x 15' range. Community gardens are often run by a self-governing set of bylaws, some elect boards in a democratic fashion while others can be run by appointed officials. Most are run by a Non-profit organizations, such as a community gardening association, a church, or other land-owner. Others are run by a city's recreation or parks department, a school or University. There are many different organizational models in use for community gardens.
Community gardens in the United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom, community gardening is generally distinct from allotment gardening, though the distinction is sometimes blurred. Allotments are generally plots of land rented to individuals for their cultivation by local authorities or other public bodies—the upkeep of the land is usually the responsibility of the individual plot owners. Allotments tend (but not invariably) to be situated around the outskirts of built-up areas. Use of allotment areas as open space or play areas is generally discouraged.
The community garden movement is of more provenance than allotment gardening—many such gardens were built on bombed and derelict inner-city sites in the aftermath of The Blitz. A community garden in the UK tends to be situated in a built-up area and is typically run by an independent non-profit organisation (though this may be wholly or partly funded by public money). It is also likely to perform a dual function as an open space or play area (in which role it may also be known as a 'city park') and—while it may offer plots to individual cultivators—the organisation that administers the garden will normally have a great deal of the responsibility for its planting, landscaping and upkeep. An example inner-city garden of this sort is Islington's Culpeper Community Garden, or Camden's Phoenix Garden.
Community gardens in Australia
Australian City Farms & Community Gardens Network - national association of city farms, community gardens and sustainability eduation centres: [www.communitygarden.org.au]
- The Rushall Garden in North Fitzroy, near Melbourne, Victoria.
- The Vera Street Community Garden in Toowong, Brisbane, Queensland.
- Veg Out Community Gardens in St Kilda, Victoria
- Ringwood Community Garden in Wantirna, part of Melbourne, Victoria
Community gardens in the United States
In the United States, this term refers to gardens consisting of small plots (10ft by 10ft to 40ft by 40ft) leased to individuals by a community center or municipality that retains ownership of the surrounding acreage. The British analogue is allotment gardening. In the last century, community gardens have appeared in inner-city neighborhoods, small towns, and suburbs across the United States. In certain areas of the country, the legacy of progressive federal legislation funds small community gardening projects. Community gardening in the U.S. contrasts to a related but distinct movement, Community-supported agriculture (CSA). Community gardeners are often prohibited by their leases from selling their produce commercially, although their gardens may provide fresh fruits and vegetables to local food pantries, cooperatives, and homeless members of their community.
In an interesting variant on the practice of reclaiming bombed-out areas for community gardens (also practiced during WWII in the ghettos of Eastern Europe), in American inner-cities, community groups have reclaimed abandoned or junked lots for garden plots. In these cases, groups have subsequently leased from a municipality that claims the property or claimed squatter's rights or a right to subsistence not currently recognized by the legal system. Two notable cases include the gardens of Manhattan's lower Eastside and the South Central Farm of Los Angeles, California.
Community gardens in Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Community gardens in San Francisco, California, USA
In San Francisco, community gardens are created and governed in a variety of different ways. One group, a community-based and resident-led volunteer group in an underserved neighborhood called Bayview Hunters Point, has created an open public garden on city-owned land, an enclosed food-producing garden, and many residential urban farms around privately owned homes. This group, the Quesada Gardens Initiative, is one of many organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area working at the nexus of environmental justice, health and wellness and food security, and community-building.
Community gardens in Seattle, Washington, USA
- Allotment gardens
- Communal garden
- Community Supported Agriculture
- South Central Farm
- Intercultural Garden
- CASA Community Garden
- Southside Community Land Trust
- The Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens (community gardens and city parks in the UK)
- American Community Gardening Association (The American Community Gardening Association)
- Hammersmith Community Gardens Association an example of an inner city community garden)
- Culpeper Community Garden
- Community gardening in Australia
- Community Food Security Coalition
- South Central Farmers, Los Angeles
- The Rushall Garden.
- Vera Street Community Garden.
- Veg Out Community Gardens