Getting involved with your local Gardening Organization is a great way to contribute to community well-being. The psychological and socio-economic benefits of gardening aren’t just limited to eating healthier and saving money on produce at your local grocery store. Community gardening creates a social network of people who work together to better their community, stay physically fit, and can even create leadership roles for the youth. We found a pleasant graphical model that sums up of all the benefits of community gardening at sciencedirect.com, illustrated below.
The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.
— Alfred Austin
There are some awesome gardening organizations around the world that make a lasting impact on their community every day. We highlighted some of our favorites below and encourage our readers to consider joining a gardening organization or get involved with your local community garden if you’re looking to volunteer your time and make a meaningful difference in your community. Remember, gardening is much more than just growing vegetables!
Editor’s Note: As part of the LawnStarter Go Garden Initiative, we are collecting basic contact information (name, location, phone, etc.) to build a searchable database of gardening organizations across the US. If you would like your organization to be featured on our map, we would love to hear from you. Please reach out to us. (And check out a prototype of our database at the bottom)
Need more time for volunteering and making an impact? Let LawnStarter worry about your lawn care service needs!
Growing Gardens (Boulder, CO)
Mission: Growing Gardens is a Boulder-based non-profit organization established in 1998. Growing Gardens mission is to enrich the lives of our community through sustainable urban agriculture. Growing Gardens envisions people experiencing a direct and deep connection with plants, the land and each other. Through its many gardening-based programs, Growing Gardens strives to reach gardeners and would-be gardeners of all ages to work alongside the organization and build community through urban agriculture.
Learn How to Get Involved: http://www.growinggardens.org/
New York City Community Garden Coalition (New York, NY)
Mission: Founded in 1996, New York City Community Garden Coalition’s mission is to promote the preservation, creation, and empowerment of community gardens through education, advocacy, and grassroots organizing.
Learn How to Get Involved: http://nyccgc.org/
Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, OR)
Bio: Lan Su Chinese Garden, located in Portland, OR, was built by Chinese artisans from Suzhou (home to China’s famous ancient gardens). Making it among the most authentic Chinese gardens outside of China. Membership to the Lan Su Chinese Garden offers all sorts of benefits such as one year of admission to the garden with a guest and 10% discount in the Garden Shop.
Become a Member: http://www.lansugarden.org/
Garden Club of Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara, CA)
Bio: Founded in 1916, The Garden Club of Santa Barbara is a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to encouraging the knowledge and enjoyment of gardening, the art of floral design, the protection of our environment and native plants, the preservation of the historic and horticultural richness of our community, and the active support of our civic projects. The objectives of the club are to stimulate the knowledge and enjoyment of gardening and flower arranging, to aid in the protection of native plants and wildlife, to encourage historic preservation, and to support civic beautification and planting.
Learn How to Get Involved: http://www.gardenclubofsantabarbara.org/
Wisdom of the Elders, Inc. (Portland, OR)
Bio: Wisdom of the Elders, Inc. records and preserves traditional cultural values, oral history, prophecy and other messages of guidance from indigenous elders in order to regenerate the greatness of culture among today’s and future generations of native peoples.
Learn How to Get Involved: http://www.wisdomoftheelders.org/
Carlsbad Community Gardens Collaborative (Carlsbad, CA)
Mission: Carlsbad Community Gardens Collaborative (CCGC) is a nonprofit led by an all-volunteer board of directors consisting of Carlsbad citizens working together to create a network of community gardens and garden-sharing resources throughout the city of Carlsbad. The CCGC works to create community gardens that provide inter-generational and educational recreation; healthy, locally grown foods for Carlsbad families; connections with Carlsbad’s history; and, increased appreciation of the local natural environment.
Learn How to Get Involved: http://carlsbadcommunitygardens.org/
Capital Roots (Troy, NY)
Mission: Capital Roots started in 1975 as a community service project of Garden Way, the former manufacturer of Troy-Bilt Lawn and Garden Equipment. Today Capital Roots works to reduce the impact of poor nutrition on public health in New York’s Capital Region by organizing community gardens, providing healthy food access, offering nutritional and horticultural education for all ages and coordinating urban greening programs in Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady and southern Saratoga Counties.
Learn How to Get Involved: http://www.capitalroots.org/
The Untermyer Gardens Conservancy (Yonkers, NY)
Bio: The Untermyer Gardens Conservancy is a non-profit organization which is collaborating with the City of Yonkers to facilitate the restoration of Samuel Untermyer’s gardens in Yonkers, New York. Untermyer Park and Gardens is a City of Yonkers public park. The six gardens under the care of this organization are each extraordinary and provide a powerfully inspiring experience to be a part of.
Learn How to Get Involved: http://www.untermyergardens.org/
North American Japanese Garden Association (Portland, OR)
Bio: The North American Japanese Garden Association (NAJGA) is a nonprofit organization founded in 2011 by leading Japanese gardens in USA and Canada. Their vision is a kinder, healthier, and more beautiful world through Japanese gardens. Through information sharing and gathering; personal training and development; public education, conferences, and symposia; research and scholarly activity; and advocacy and public relations; NAJGA seeks to ensure the sustainability, enduring value and social impact of Japanese gardens in North America for generations to come.
Learn How to Get Involved: http://najga.org/
Cape Fear Garden Club, Inc. (Wilmington, NC)
Mission: Cape Fear Garden Club’s mission is to encourage environmental improvement through civic development, beautification, restoration, and to aid in the protection and conservation of our native trees, plants, and birds. They were originally organized in 1925, making them one of the more established names on the list. Ever since their inception they have been dedicated to the their community by being involved in inspiring civic projects.
Learn How to Get Involved: http://www.capefeargardenclub.org/
Helping Hands in the Garden (Columbus, OH)
Bio: Created in 2009, Helping Hands in the Garden is a volunteer organization founded with the intent to aid cancer patients during their treatment, when the comfort of a living environment will complement their medical treatment and recovery. Removing the stress of worrying about how a beloved garden will be cared for during a difficult treatment course also buoys spirits and aids recovery. With over 25 volunteers, they have assisted 91 families with their gardens since 2009.
Learn How to Get Involved: https://www.hhinthegarden.org/
Rothenberg Rooftop Garden (Cincinnati, OH)
Bio: Integrated with math, science, and language arts, the Rooftop Garden program creates opportunities to enhance students’ learning, develop critical thinking skills and foster stewardship of their surroundings and community. The Rothenberg Rooftop School Garden is more than growing things, or children getting their hands dirty – it is an innovative model that seeks to provide and sustain unique learning opportunities for students through hands-on garden-based lessons.
Learn How to Get Involved: http://www.rothenbergrooftopgarden.com/
Kitchen Garden Laboratory (New York, NY)
Mission: Kitchen Garden Laboratory’s mission in the United States is to utilize school and community gardens in underserved communities as learning laboratories to ensure that children understand the connection between the vegetables they grow and healthy eating — and provide them and their parents with recipes that are easy and inexpensive to make at home.
Find Out More: http://www.kitchengardenlaboratory.org/
Garden Club Salon (Internet)
Photo: Flickr/Eve Martel
Mission: Nancy Peck’s objective is threefold: to emulate the upbeat spirit of today’s gardeners; to acknowledge the drive of the individuals who make gardens & garden communities succeed; and to provide a venue for the garden patron community. The Garden Club Salon is constantly evolving, and we encourage you to read more to find out how. She’s always accepting story or interview ideas for the blog.
Find Out More: https://gardenclubsalon.wordpress.com/
Plant Something Maine (Maine)
Bio: Plant Something is a grassroots, nationally established campaign designed to increase the public’s support of local growers, nurseries, garden centers, and landscapers through awareness of the benefits of planting specialty crops for the landscape and garden. Plant Something Maine is a program of The Maine Landscape & Nursery Association (MELNA). MELNA is committed to promoting, educating and representing its members and informing and educating the people of Maine.
Learn How to Get Involved: http://www.melna.org/
Rancho Santa Fe Garden Club (Rancho Santa Fe, CA)
Mission: For over 88 years, it has the been the purpose of Rancho Santa Fe Garden Club to further the development of charitable horticulture and charitable conservation activities, both within and outside the community of Rancho Santa Fe.
Learn How to Get Involved: http://www.rsfgardenclub.org/
Friends of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden (Berkeley, CA)
Bio: The Friends of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden, a part of the Regional Parks Foundation, is a volunteer-run nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the Garden’s important work in education, horticulture, and conservation of California native plants. Since our founding in 1996, the Friends organization has provided funding for many important Garden projects including plant collection, docent training, path building and planting bed improvement.
Learn How to Get Involved: http://www.nativeplants.org/
New Jersey Agricultural Society (New Jersey, NJ)
Mission: To preserve and enhance agriculture, farming, and related activities and businesses in New Jersey through educational, informational, and promotional programs.
Learn How to Get Involved: http://www.njagsociety.org/
The Garden Club of Norfolk (Norfolk, VA)
Bio: The Garden Club of Norfolk has three primary areas of focus: (1) Conservation:
The preservation and management of the environment and of natural resources. (2) Floral Design:
The art of using plant materials and flowers to create a pleasing composition. and (3) Horticulture:
The science, art and business involved in intensive plant cultivation for human use.
Learn How to Get Involved: http://www.thegardenclubofnorfolk.org/
The Land Conservancy of New Jersey (New Jersey)
Mission: The Land Conservancy of New Jersey preserves land and water resources, conserves open space, and inspires and empowers individuals and communities to protect our natural land and environment.
Learn How to Get Involved: http://tlc-nj.org/
Grassroots Gardens WNY (Buffalo, NY)
Bio: Grassroots Gardens WNY is a determined group of activists who educate and lead committed neighborhood gardeners. They collaboratively cultivate and manage more than 300,000 sqft of green space in Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Their work is rooted in the belief that a garden has the power to transform an urban neighborhood.
Learn How to Get Involved: http://www.grassrootsgardens.org/
Sprout Urban Farms (Battle Creek, MI)
Mission: Helping community prosper through food, education, and enterprise.
Learn How to Get Involved: http://www.sproutbc.org/
Smile Farms (New York, NY)
Mission: Smile Farms is dedicated to providing meaningful work opportunities to adults with developmental disabilities at local farms, urban gardens and greenhouses in the communities where they live. By pooling resources, forming key partnerships and focusing on one common goal, Smile Farms is rallying neighbors, small businesses, corporations and local civic organizations to create more jobs, promote locally grown goods and bring increased awareness to a much deserving population.
Learn How to Get Involved: http://www.smilefarms.org/
Nature Sacred (Annapolis, MD)
Bio: Nature Sacred is a private nonprofit that supports, informs, and inspires the creation of publicly accessible urban green spaces. We believe that every city resident needs nearby green space to provide opportunities for mindfulness, respite, and renewal. The Foundation has issued its final grants to build five Open Spaces Sacred Places and research the impacts on a variety of users with the hope that the powerful connection between nature, spirit and human well-being will be scientifically proven.
Learn How to Get Involved: http://naturesacred.org/
Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm Project (Oakland, CA)
Bio: Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm Project (ANV) elevates life in the inner city by challenging oppressive dynamics and environments through urban farming. ANV’s quarter acre farm located in the City of Oakland’s Tassafaronga Park is planned, planted, harvested and sold by youth in grades K-8. One hundred percent of the proceeds are placed into individual savings accounts for those who participate.
Learn How to Get Involved: http://anvfarm.org/
To find out more about community gardens and gardening organizations in a certain area, hover over the circle above the city’s name. For a list of community gardens and gardening organizations in that area, click on the circle associated with that city.
Editor’s Note: As part of the LawnStarter Go Garden Initiative, we are collecting basic contact information (name, location, phone, etc.) to build a searchable database of gardening organizations across the US. If you would like your organization to be featured on our map, we would love to hear from you. Please reach out to us.