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.
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.
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.
Grow a Garden
Join us for our annual garden event held every March. Gardeners bring seeds, share seeds, receive seeds. Bringing seeds is not required and the event is free! It’s a great kick-off to the spring season.
COVID-19 Update: The Seed Exchange will not be taking place in 2021 due to unusually high demand for seeds from home gardeners. A lack of supply means we are not able to offer free seeds to the general public, but gardeners in one of our network of community gardens may obtain free seeds by requesting them through their Garden Coordinator. Any surplus seeds will be distributed to food pantries.
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 individuals 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
Click here for resources on a wide variety of gardening topics.
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.