Inspiring Neighborhoods and Communities
Community gardens improve the appearance of neighborhoods and inspire, educate, and reflect the pride of their participants. They come in many shapes and sizes: community vegetable gardens, tree and shrub plantings, native gardens, perennial beds, street beautification, or even innovative designs created by community groups themselves. There are over 200 of these gardens in the Gateway Greening Network.
What is a Gateway Greening Network Garden? A network garden is simply a community garden project that has completed our garden development process.
Why would a garden want to become a Gateway Greening network garden? Firstly Gateway Greening has found the steps groups go through to finish the garden development process are very beneficial to the sustainability of a community project. Secondly, network gardens are eligible for many services that non-network gardens are not eligible for including garden expansion grants, free ornamental plants, vegetable seedlings, tool loans, reduced rate for educator led classes, and an assigned staff liaison.
What happens to the food grown in a Gateway Greening network garden? Community gardeners can grow up to one pound of food per square foot per growing season. Therefore, an individual can produce nearly 50 pounds of food worth about $100 in just one 4’x12’ raised garden bed each year. Each of Gateway Greening’s community and youth gardens are independently managed according to their own organizational principles, so some may allow individuals or families to adopt particular beds while others may require all beds be used communally. Typically, the majority of the food grown in community and youth gardens is used directly by the growers, although most gardens also informally donate surplus produce to neighbors or nearby soup kitchens. A few community gardens are run exclusively as pantry gardens and donate 100% of their harvest, however such food distribution decisions are left up to each community garden’s discretion.