Community gardens grow healthy food and help develop strong neighborhoods. Gardening can be an enriching experience to help families and individuals learn sustainable practices, understand their local climate and support their own food supply.
Community gardens do more than just grow fresh, healthy produce. They bring people together across age and experience, as well as cultural and economic barriers. They unify neighborhoods, improve our health, and add beauty to our environment.
Marion Polk Food Share supports a network of more than 60 gardens in Marion and Polk counties, including gardens with plots that are available for rent.
Many community gardens are open for gardeners to grow their own food at this time, though some gardens are suspending activities for the time being. Gardens are not open to outside visitors while the Stay Home, Save Lives order is in effect. Social distancing and sanitation procedures are being put in place where needed.
Find a Garden
If you would like to grow food at a community garden, find the nearest public garden here.
Contact the garden coordinator listed next to that garden to get set up. You may also contact our Community Gardens team, listed below, to assist you in finding a plot.
Grow a Garden
Seed Exchange – Join us for our annual garden event held every March. Gardeners bring seeds, share seeds, receive seeds. Bringing seeds in not required and the event is free! It’s a great kick-off to the spring season.
Seed to Supper – We offer a free 6-six week gardening education course to low-income individuals and families late in the winter season each year. To learn more, click on this page or view the curriculum.
Support a Garden
Funds – Help support the community gardens that low-income individual and families use to supplement their grocery needs and grow healthy food for themselves.
Supplies – The following is a list of the most needed items:
- Plant starts
- Landscaping materials
- Small machinery
Get involved by using your time and skills.
We need support with large projects, which are great for volunteer groups.
- Hauling wood chips or soil
- Building new garden beds
- Planting large crops
Long-term volunteers are also vital to support:
- Soil health
- Educational projects
Use SNAP to Garden
SNAP recipients can spend their benefits on seeds and food-producing plants. Gardening can help extend benefits at the grocery store if you grow some of the food you already need at home.
- Not all retailers who accept SNAP sell food-producing plants and seeds. Find a SNAP retailer located near you.
- If the cashier says that the plants/seeds are not eligible for SNAP, ask to talk to a manager. Show the manager the resource page of items eligible to purchase with SNAP.
- El Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program o SNAP