Community Gardens Program
For inquiries contact Angela Hartsell, Community Gardens Program Manager
or Michelle Gorham, Assistant Program Manager
- Gather with neighbors
- Educate children
- Find fresh produce
- Grow beautiful flowers
- Preserve San Antonio’s green space
Green Spaces Alliance is currently working with many groups who have gardens or plan to start one. Read on to find out how you can get involved with an existing garden or start a community garden in your neighborhood today.
What is a Community Garden?
When people think about community gardens, they have various images in their heads based on experience or knowledge. But, for the most part, they think of geographic spaces with plants. Space and plants create nothing more than a garden; it is the addition of people that makes it a community garden. The style, design, content, and method of management are completely up to the community group.
There are communal gardens where all the members share in all the work and all the benefits. There are plotted gardens where each member maintains and benefits from his or her own plot. Some gardens are composites of these two styles. There are gardens that contain vegetables and other edibles. There are gardens that contain only flowers and trees. Most gardens contain some of both. There are gardens that are designed for efficiency and capacity. There are gardens that are designed for relaxation and beauty. Many gardeners design their spaces to serve multiple functions.
No matter the appearance, it is the group of neighbors actively working together to create and maintain a space that makes it a community garden. And, it is the group of members who reap the benefits.
History of Community Garden Network
The concept of community gardens has been around for a long time. You can find them all over the country and all over the world. San Antonio has had community gardens in the past, but the harsh summer months take the starch out of the garden and the gardeners. The Green Spaces Community Gardens Committee established our program in 2006 with two watchwords: sustainability and shared knowledge. With these guiding principles and best practices, the program is designed to improve the health of our citizens and environment, beautify neighborhoods, and strengthen the community by providing a place for people to meet and bond. We developed our best practices based on lessons learned from other programs across the country and years of trial and error in the early years of the program.
The program has found generous support in:
- the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation
- Les Dames d’Escoffier
- Boeing Company Charitable Foundation
- Faye L. and William L. Cowden Charitable Foundation
- Lattner Family Foundation
- Wells Fargo, N.A.
- San Antonio Area Foundation
- Making Connections
- Chipotle Mexican Grill
- New Belgium Brewing
Three fortunate neighborhoods were picked as pilot projects in late 2006. Green Spaces developed the program structure that now adds a measure of financial support to start a garden to our clearinghouse of physical resources and shared knowledge. These factors have created a program that is a catalyst for community-sustained green space.
Since then, innumerable groups continue to contact Green Spaces for support and advice. From Utah to Tennessee and from Wimberly to Edinburg, gardeners are inspired by the community gardening progress in San Antonio. We have advised and given tours to inquirers and visitors from across the country. During each interaction we discuss the successes and challenges of community gardening including the program’s rate.
- 2006 – 1 garden
- 2007 – 3 gardens
- 2008 – 10 gardens
- 2009 – 10 gardens
- 2010 – 6 gardens
- 2011 – 2 gardens
- 2012 – 4 gardens
You can be the next to add a community garden to your neighborhood’s landscape:
- Go to Resources for Gardeners for more information about planning and funding community gardens in San Antonio.
- Go to Educational Series to learn and prepare for years of successful harvests, easy maintenance, and enhanced community interactions.
- Go to CG Network to find where gardens are located and observe their progress.