Are Community Gardens Profitable in 2023? [2023]

Quick Answer:
Community gardens can be profitable in various ways, although financial profit may not be the primary goal. The benefits of community gardens extend beyond monetary gains and include social, environmental, and health advantages. While some community gardens generate revenue through produce sales or membership fees, others focus on community engagement, education, and food security. Ultimately, the profitability of a community garden depends on its goals, management, and community involvement.

Table of Contents:

  • Quick Answer
  • Quick Tips and Facts
  • Who Gets Involved in Community Gardening?
  • Management Approaches
  • Getting Started
  • The Role of Cooperative Extension
  • Useful Resources
  • FAQ
  • Conclusion
  • Recommended Links
  • Reference Links

Quick Tips and Facts

  • Community gardens offer numerous benefits, including social interaction, improved mental health, access to fresh produce, and environmental sustainability.
  • Profitability in community gardens is often measured in terms of social, environmental, and health impacts rather than financial gains.
  • Some community gardens generate revenue through produce sales, farmers’ markets, or membership fees.
  • Community gardens can reduce food costs for participants and contribute to food security in underserved areas.
  • Successful community gardens require proper planning, organization, and community involvement.
  • Cooperative Extension services provide valuable resources and support for community garden development.
  • The profitability of a community garden depends on its goals, management, and community engagement.

Who Gets Involved in Community Gardening?

Community gardening attracts a diverse range of individuals and groups who share a common interest in gardening, community engagement, and sustainable living. Here are some key participants in community gardening:

  1. Homeowner Associations: Homeowner associations often establish community gardens within their neighborhoods to promote a sense of community and beautify the surroundings.
  2. Schools: Many schools incorporate community gardens into their curriculum to teach students about gardening, nutrition, and environmental stewardship.
  3. Religious Organizations: Churches, synagogues, and mosques may create community gardens as a way to give back to their communities and promote sustainable practices.
  4. Nonprofit Organizations: Nonprofits focused on food security, environmental conservation, or community development often initiate and manage community gardens.
  5. Corporations: Some corporations support community gardens as part of their corporate social responsibility initiatives, fostering employee engagement and community involvement.

Management Approaches

Community gardens can be managed in different ways, depending on the goals and preferences of the participants. The two main management approaches are individual plots and common greenspace.

  1. Individual Plots: In this approach, participants are assigned individual plots within the community garden. Each gardener is responsible for maintaining their plot, choosing what to grow, and harvesting the produce. This approach offers a sense of ownership and allows participants to tailor their gardening experience to their preferences.
  2. Common Greenspace: In a common greenspace model, the garden is collectively managed by all participants. Decisions regarding planting, maintenance, and harvest are made collectively, fostering a sense of community and shared responsibility. This approach encourages collaboration and shared learning among participants.

Both management approaches have their advantages and disadvantages. Individual plots provide autonomy and flexibility, while common greenspace promotes collaboration and community-building. The choice of management approach depends on the goals, resources, and preferences of the community garden participants.

Getting Started

Starting a community garden requires careful planning, organization, and community involvement. Here are some steps to consider:

  1. Identify a Suitable Location: Look for available land that receives adequate sunlight, has access to water, and is easily accessible to the community.
  2. Gather Community Support: Engage with community members, local organizations, and stakeholders to gauge interest and build support for the community garden project.
  3. Form a Garden Committee: Establish a committee of dedicated individuals who will oversee the planning, development, and ongoing management of the community garden.
  4. Secure Land Tenure: Determine the ownership or lease agreement for the land and ensure that the necessary permissions and permits are obtained.
  5. Develop a Garden Plan: Create a detailed plan that includes garden layout, infrastructure requirements, water sources, composting systems, and guidelines for garden maintenance and operation.
  6. Recruit Participants: Reach out to the community and invite individuals, organizations, and schools to participate in the community garden. Encourage diverse participation and provide opportunities for education and skill-building.
  7. Establish Guidelines: Develop guidelines and rules for garden use, including plot allocation, maintenance responsibilities, and expectations for participation.
  8. Organize Workdays and Events: Plan regular workdays and community events to foster engagement, build relationships, and maintain the garden.

Remember, community gardens thrive when there is active community involvement, clear communication, and a shared sense of ownership.

The Role of Cooperative Extension

Cooperative Extension services play a vital role in supporting community garden development and providing valuable resources and expertise. These services, often affiliated with universities, offer guidance, educational programs, and technical assistance to community garden organizers and participants. Here’s how Cooperative Extension can assist:

  1. Education and Training: Cooperative Extension provides workshops, training sessions, and educational materials on various aspects of community gardening, including soil health, pest management, and sustainable gardening practices.
  2. Site Assessment and Soil Testing: Cooperative Extension agents can help assess potential garden sites, conduct soil tests, and provide recommendations for soil improvement and nutrient management.
  3. Networking and Collaboration: Cooperative Extension connects community garden organizers with other local resources, organizations, and experts in the field, fostering collaboration and knowledge-sharing.
  4. Troubleshooting and Problem-solving: When challenges arise, Cooperative Extension agents can offer guidance and solutions to address issues related to pests, diseases, plant selection, and garden management.
  5. Access to Research-based Information: Cooperative Extension provides access to research-based information and publications on community gardening, ensuring that gardeners have reliable and up-to-date resources.

The expertise and support offered by Cooperative Extension services can greatly enhance the success and sustainability of community gardens.

Useful Resources

Community gardening resources can provide valuable information, inspiration, and guidance for both novice and experienced gardeners. Here are some useful resources to explore:

  1. American Community Gardening Association (ACGA): ACGA is a national organization that promotes community gardening and provides resources, networking opportunities, and educational materials for community garden organizers and participants. Visit ACGA
  2. Vegetable Gardening Guides: Many state Cooperative Extension services offer vegetable gardening guides specific to their region, providing information on planting schedules, crop selection, and pest management. Check your local Cooperative Extension website for relevant resources.
  3. Local Gardening Organizations: Explore local gardening organizations, clubs, or horticultural societies in your area. These groups often offer workshops, garden tours, and resources tailored to the local gardening community.
  4. Community Gardening and Food Safety: The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) provides resources on community gardening and food safety, addressing topics such as composting, water quality, and safe handling of fresh produce. Learn more
  5. Books on Community Gardening: Consider reading books on community gardening to gain further insights and inspiration. Some recommended titles include “The Community Gardening Handbook” by Ben Raskin and “The Earth Knows My Name: Food, Culture, and Sustainability in the Gardens of Ethnic Americans” by Patricia Klindienst.

Exploring these resources can provide valuable information and support for your community gardening journey.


Saturday. Summer. Beautiful sunny day, so my friends and I decided to make a picnic and watch the sundown. Pretty fun and relaxed day.

What is a disadvantage of a community garden?

While community gardens offer numerous benefits, there are some potential disadvantages to consider:

  • Time Commitment: Community gardening requires time and effort for planning, maintenance, and participation. It may not be suitable for individuals with limited availability or those who prefer low-maintenance gardening.
  • Conflict Resolution: In a shared gardening space, conflicts may arise over issues such as plot boundaries, plant selection, or maintenance responsibilities. Effective communication and conflict resolution strategies are essential to address these challenges.
  • Limited Space: Depending on the size and demand for plots, community gardens may have limited space available, leading to waiting lists or the need to share plots.
  • Vandalism and Theft: Community gardens are vulnerable to vandalism and theft, especially in urban areas. Implementing security measures and fostering a sense of community ownership can help mitigate these risks.

Despite these potential disadvantages, the benefits of community gardening often outweigh the challenges, making it a rewarding and worthwhile endeavor.

Read more about “What is a disadvantage of a community garden?”

Are community gardens worth it?

Yes, community gardens are worth it for several reasons:

  1. Social Interaction: Community gardens provide opportunities for people to connect, share knowledge, and build relationships with fellow gardeners and community members.
  2. Improved Mental Health: Gardening has been shown to reduce stress, improve mood, and enhance overall mental well-being. Community gardens offer a supportive and nurturing environment that contributes to these benefits.
  3. Access to Fresh Produce: Community gardens provide participants with access to fresh, locally grown produce, promoting healthier eating habits and food security.
  4. Environmental Sustainability: By growing food locally, community gardens reduce the carbon footprint associated with long-distance transportation and contribute to a more sustainable food system.
  5. Education and Skill-building: Community gardens offer opportunities for learning about gardening techniques, sustainable practices, and environmental stewardship. Participants can develop new skills and knowledge that can be applied in their own gardens or shared with others.
  6. Beautification and Sense of Pride: Community gardens enhance the aesthetics of neighborhoods, creating beautiful green spaces that instill a sense of pride and ownership among participants and the wider community.

While financial profit may not be the primary goal of community gardens, the social, environmental, and health benefits make them a valuable and worthwhile endeavor.

Read more about “How Long Does It Take to Build a Community Garden …: A Comprehensive Guide”

What makes a successful community garden?

Several factors contribute to the success of a community garden:

  1. Clear Goals and Vision: A successful community garden has a clear mission and goals that align with the needs and aspirations of the participants and the community.
  2. Active Community Involvement: Engaged and committed participants are essential for the success of a community garden. Regular participation, collaboration, and shared responsibility contribute to a thriving garden.
  3. Effective Communication: Open and transparent communication among participants fosters a sense of community, ensures clarity of expectations, and facilitates problem-solving.
  4. Proper Planning and Organization: Successful community gardens have well-thought-out plans that address garden layout, infrastructure needs, maintenance schedules, and guidelines for participation.
  5. Sustainable Management: Implementing sustainable gardening practices, such as composting, water conservation, and organic pest management, contributes to the long-term success of the garden.
  6. Community Engagement and Outreach: Successful community gardens actively engage with the wider community through events, workshops, and educational programs, promoting awareness and participation.
  7. Adaptability and Flexibility: Community gardens that can adapt to changing circumstances, such as weather conditions, participant turnover, or evolving community needs, are more likely to succeed.

By considering these factors and fostering a supportive and inclusive environment, community gardens can thrive and bring numerous benefits to participants and the community.

Read more about “What makes a successful community garden?”


Community gardens offer a wealth of benefits beyond financial profit. While some community gardens generate revenue through produce sales or membership fees, the true value lies in the social, environmental, and health impacts they create. By fostering community engagement, promoting sustainable practices, and providing access to fresh produce, community gardens contribute to the well-being of individuals and communities. The profitability of a community garden depends on its goals, management approaches, and the active involvement of participants. So, if you’re considering starting or joining a community garden, remember that the rewards go far beyond monetary gains.

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