Community Garden Public Policies

Recommendations for Municipalities and Local Governments

Model Policy Language for Community Gardening
Prepared by Planning for Healthy Places, a project of Pubic Health Law & Policy (Also includes model policy language for farmers' markets)

Cultivating Community Gardens: The Role of Local Government in Creating Healthy, Livable Neighborhoods
This handout, created by the Local Governments Commission (Sacramento, CA) offers case studies, best management practices, resources and tools for policymakers to develop creative, cost-effective solutions that reduce barriers and facilitate the creation of community garden programs. 

Supporting Community Gardens: Gardening Matters' Recommendations for Cities and Counties
Interest in community gardens is growing among individuals, organizations and government agencies. Gardening Matters sets forth these recommendations for how local jurisdictions can support existing and new community gardens so that they can fulfill their potential as community assets.


Local Municipal and County Resources

Homegrown Minneapolis
An initiative of the City of Minneapolis to improve the growth, sales, distribution, and consumption of healthy, locally grown foods within the city and the surrounding region. Read the Urban Agriculture Policy Plan, approved by Minneapolis City Council in the Summer 2011. Read Gardening Matters' Public Response to the Minneapolis Urban Agriculture Topical Plan

City of St. Paul Healthy and Local Food website
Learn about gardening on city property, keeping animals, St. Paul food projects, and much more.

Saint Paul-Ramsey County Food and Nutrution Commission
The Saint Paul - Ramsey County Food and Nutrition Commission is a forum for public and private stakeholders to assess how local food systems are operating and suggest policies, share information and plan for increased access to safe, affordable and nutritious foods.

Public Policy Case Studies (Local and National).

Community Gardens: A Study of Public Policies in Minneapolis and Hennepin County
GardenWorks intern, Erin Foster West, completed a study of public policies pertaining to community gardening in Minneapolis and Hennepin County in May 2007. This pdf document includes information on how to find out about land ownership, and how the various policies of different government entities regarding community gardens. 

Community Development Through Gardening: State and Local Policies Transforming Urban Open Space
Article by Jane E. Schukoske, looking at the variety of public policies that have impacted community gardens over time and across the U.S. Can be found in Journal of Legislation and Public Policy, Spring 2000, Volume 3, Number 2.

Boston's Community Garden Zoning
Read the actual language for this unique zoning code established in 1988.

City of Cleveland's Zoning Code for Community Gardens
In 2007, the Cleveland Planning Commission approved the adoption of a new section of the zoning code – Chapter 336, Urban Garden District – to protect and preserve Cleveland’s urban garden areas. Cleveland’s planners are to work with neighborhood groups to select additional sites that are appropriately located for an enlarged community garden program and work with the city and other funders to provide adequate resources to the Botanical Garden, Ohio State University Extension, Cuyahoga Community Land Trust and other collaborators interested in gardens and food production. For more information go to p. 6 "Urban Gardens and Food" section in Cleveland's 2020 Citywide Plan.

City of Seattle resolution to expand their community garden program, 2000
Resolution 30194 by the City of Seattle adopting a Five-Year Strategic Plan as guidance for the expansion of Seattle's community gardening program and adopting the policies and procedures necessary for the implementation of the plan.

City of Victoria (British Columbia, Canada), Community Gardens Policy
Established 2005, this policy provides a framework for how the city can work with community associations and gardening organizations to establish and maintain community gardens on city-owned lands, park land and privately-owned land. These policies has been adapted by other cities in both Canada and United States.

Community Garden Policy of Saanich, British Columbia, Canada
The city of Saanich (108,000 people) is just north of Victoria, the capital of British Columbia. City council passed a Community Garden Policy in 2003 (and later amended in 2006) describing the various ways that the city will support community gardening.

New York City & Liability Insurance
City of New York dropped liability insurance requirements for community gardeners in March 2006. The City extended municipal liability protection to community gardeners on city-owned land, thereby no longer requiring garden organizations to pay for private insurance policies. Read the press release.

Boise Parks and Recreation Department: Community Garden Policy
Established 2002, the community garden policy draft provides a framework for how community gardens will be developed on park property.

City and County of San Francisco, Recreation and Parks Department
Responding to a strong demand among San Francisco households, the Recreation and Parks Department established extensive community garden policies governing the establishment and maintenance of community gardens on park property, effective July 2006. "The intent of these policies is to continue equal opportunity for public access to all gardens by providing a uniform framework that will allow for flexibility in management within each garden."