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Community Gardens


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This guide links to resources that: help people successfully start and manage community gardens; inform governments on how they can encourage gardens; and guide organizations on permanently protecting gardens.


Community gardens are community-managed open spaces used by community members for growing food, flowers, or other plants. They offer numerous benefits, including reliable access to healthy food, nature-based stormwater management, and strengthened ties between community members.

This guide provides links to resources that can help people successfully start and manage community gardens, as well as resources that provide information about how governments and organizations can encourage and protect gardens. Find these and other resources in the Community Gardens topic at ConservationTools.org.

Starting and Managing a Garden

The following resources provide information about starting and managing a successful garden, including finding land, securing funding, attracting gardeners, and dealing with legal issues.

How to Organize a Community Garden

Community Gardening Toolkit

Collard Greens and Common Ground: A Community Food Gardening Handbook

Ground Rules: A Legal Toolkit for Community Gardens

A Guide for Making Community Gardens Accessible for All Members

Sample community gardeners’ welcome packet

Sample community garden forms

Community garden funding opportunities

Encouraging and Protecting Community Gardens

The following resources explain how local governments can encourage community gardens through zoning, planning, and other methods, and how governments and organizations can protect community gardens permanently by acquiring land or conservation easements.

Community Gardening Policy Reference Guide 

Establishing Land-Use Protections for Community Gardens

Cultivating Community Gardens: The Role of Local Government in Creating Healthy, Livable Neighborhoods

Community Gardening Organizations

These organizations have significant experience with community gardens. Visit their websites to learn more about their community garden initiatives and to find gardening resources.

American Community Gardening Association

Grow Pittsburgh

Neighborhood Gardens Trust

Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy