Community Gardens: A Model for Sustainability and Social Change

Image Source: Soil&Water

Mountain View is home to three community gardens that provide a space for residents to grow their own food, an opportunity for families to learn more about gardening, and a chance for neighbors to connect with community members who also enjoy putting their green thumb to work. Many of these gardens are filled with rental plots–small areas of soil residents can rent yearly for a fee. To keep these community plots accessible, the city offers reduced rates for those who need them and ensures there are plots that follow the regulations set in place by the Americans with Disabilities Act for public spaces and buildings. Totaling 177 plots between three gardens, there is a substantial waitlist for the plots. 63 of those plots are reserved for residents who are over the age of 55. More information on the city-ran plots can be found here.

A fourth community garden is run by Soil&Water, a volunteer non-profit that started in a backyard. After being awarded land in Heritage Park by the city, their garden became the place it is today–a spot for people to learn how to garden while giving back to their community and the nature that surrounds them. Supported by companies such as Google (whose headquarters are based in Mountain View), the organization hopes to teach kids where food comes from, despite many living in apartments with no outdoor space of their own. With this initiative in mind, they hope to share ways to garden sustainably in an urban environment by demonstrating that gardens can happen no matter how small the space! The Soil&Water garden relies on volunteers to come help plant, care for, and harvest the food. Every Saturday, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., the volunteers work together to keep the plants alive. People who are interested in volunteering with them can sign up for as many workdays (or as little!) as they want, and all workdays are family-friendly. If you’re interested in learning more about their workdays, contact [email protected], and if you’re looking to volunteer with them, fill out the form here!

For California residents, offers a list of all the community gardens in major cities, and many cities offer resources specifically for their own gardens on the government website. For those who aren’t local, keep an eye out for any community gardens in your area!