Our Network

Community Gardens Network

The Community Gardens Program enriches the built environment and quality of life in San Antonio by engaging a broad range of people who eagerly work to establish and maintain a diversity of urban green spaces. These green spaces foster community across generations and cultures, and create environmental awareness and contribute to individual health through. The program grows more than green spaces; it cultivates curiosity, motivation, generosity, and compassion while raising the next generation to strive for more urban green spaces, higher access to fresh produce, and increased civic participation as standards.

Community gardens and various other models of community-supported green spaces are places where you can:

  • Gather with neighbors
  • Exercise
  • Find fresh vegetables and fruits
  • Educate children
  • Grow trees, flowers, and native plants
  • Support pollinator species and biodiversity
  • Preserve 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?

Esperanza_D3T1453Any urban green space that is developed and maintained by volunteer members of the community to benefit those members may be deemed a community garden. When people think about community gardens, they may conjure up various images based on experience or knowledge, but for the most part, they think of geographic spaces with plants. Space and plants only create a garden; it is the addition of mem that makes it a community garden. The style, design, content, and method of management are completely up to the volunteer community group. Green Spaces Alliance 1There is no one “right” way to create a garden. 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 combine these two styles. There are gardens that contain only 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.

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 maintained community gardens in the past, but there lacked a concise organization where the community garden could derive resources and guidance. 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 was 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. Three neighborhoods were picked as pilot projects in late 2006. Green Spaces developed the program structure that provides financial support that helps establish gardens to our collective resources and shared knowledge. These factors have created a program that is a catalyst for community-sustained green spaces. 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. Below is the program & rate of garden establishment: 2011 Permaculture Photos- Michelle's Camera (33)

  • 2006 – 1 garden
  • 2007 – 3 gardens
  • 2008 – 10 gardens
  • 2009 – 10 gardens
  • 2010 – 6 gardens
  • 2011 – 2 gardens
  • 2012 – 4 gardens
  • 2013 – 4 gardens
  • 2014 – 1 garden
  • 2015 – 3 gardens
  • 2016 – 1 garden

Benefits of Network Participation

In San Antonio, groups are encouraged to join the Network at Green Spaces in order to reap the many benefits of our critical mass. Green Spaces does so much more than write grant proposals and provide funding for garden supplies. A team of staff, mentors, interns, volunteers, and gardeners work diligently to:

  • research best practices
  • influence future land-use ordinances and advise local officials
  • implement regionally-appropriate techniques
  • gather donated and discounted materials and services
  • vet projects and distribute available funds
  • garner the expertise of many local professionals
  • develop a new generation of stewards,
  • share knowledge, and
  • build camaraderie as the foundation of a locally resilient food system. So long as interest in good health, local foods, and community greening continues to grow, Green Spaces will welcome additional projects into the network. Groups of enthusiastic neighbors form core groups to design, build, and maintain all the urban greenspaces in San Antonio. Join the network to reap the benefits of our services and exchange information, ideas, and resources.

Join The Network

New and pre-existing groups may join the network to reap all of the benefits for $40/year (if a garden is funded through GSA and participates fully, the first 5 years of these fees are waived.) Community Garden Network members share knowledge, experiences, techniques, and excess resources with other network community gardens by:

  1. Utilizing the services of Green Spaces Alliance and other organizations.
  2. Attending or hosting free and low cost informative workshops that will extend their knowledge base.
  3. Recruiting new members, strengthening their ability to maintain and sustain a healthy community garden.
  4. Passing along excess materials and loaning equipment and/or serving as a mentor to brand new garden groups.
  5. Spreading the word about how community gardens benefit the community and the environment by making presentations, tabling at community events and/or offering garden tours.

Members of network gardens receive:

  1. Hands-on guidance from start-up through locally-appropriate maintenance.
  2. Invitations to on-line forums containing gardening techniques, offers of material resources, and connections to other gardeners.
  3. Referrals to/from volunteers and groups interested in helping gardens grow.
  4. Information about funding opportunities.
  5. Access to a huge library of regionally-appropriate garden how-to’s.
  6. And discounts when attending our educational programs.

 

Or mail to Green Spaces Alliance, PO Box 6250. San Antonio, TX 78029 or Fax to: 210.222.8022