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Community Gardens: Ready, Let’s Grow! Eric S. Bendfeldt Extension Specialist, Community Viability Virginia Cooperative Extension.

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Presentation on theme: "Community Gardens: Ready, Let’s Grow! Eric S. Bendfeldt Extension Specialist, Community Viability Virginia Cooperative Extension."— Presentation transcript:

1 Community Gardens: Ready, Let’s Grow! Eric S. Bendfeldt Extension Specialist, Community Viability Virginia Cooperative Extension

2 Food System from Farm to Table 2

3 Virginia Farm-to-Table Plan 3 38 overall recommendations developed

4 Leadership, Transformational Change and the Food System Establishing a sense of urgency; Forming a powerful guiding coalition; Creating a vibrant vision and picture of the future; Communicating the vision; Empowering others to act on the vision; Planning for and creating short-term wins; Consolidating improvements to produce still more change; Institutionalizing new approaches so they become part of the culture and organizational behavior. 4 Source: John Kotter, Harvard Business Review, 1995

5 Food Policies and Programs Food access, equity and security Community resiliency and economic development Emergency preparedness and environmental stewardship Education and community nutrition Local and regional identity through foods Mobile markets Advocacy and community involvement Enhanced reuse and waste reduction Zoning and clustering of like-minded businesses 5 Source: Hatfield, 2012

6 6 Brooklyn Grange Feed Your City: Architecture and Farming photo gallery architecture-farming/#.ULeY3mewWwF

7 UpGarden – Seattle, WA Mercer Street Garage in downtown Seattle (Feed Your City: Architecture + Farming)

8 High Line Park, New York, NY

9 Office Farm and Garden, Tokyo, Japan

10 Costs of Unhealthy Communities and Malnutrition The direct and indirect health costs associated with obesity are estimated at $117 billion per year nationwide ◦ worker absenteeism, health care premiums, co-payments and out-of-pocket expenses In 2006, the total cost of diabetes for people in Virginia was estimated at $4.4 billion.

11 Benefits to the Community Time outdoors and engage in physical activity Access to fresh fruits and vegetables Open space for community gatherings and family events. Include neighbors of all ages and backgrounds. Educational opportunities and vocational skills for youths. Target lower-income residents. Enable gardeners to sell their produce through a local farmer’s market. Encourage the donation of surplus produce to food pantries.

12 Additional Benefits Property Values and Tax Revenues ◦ In New York, neighborhoods surrounding a community garden saw a 9.4% increase in property values within the first five years of its opening More stable neighborhoods Community Pride and Partnerships Support of other Community Services ◦ After-school programs ◦ Food shelters

13 Continuing to Grow Tricycle Gardens, Richmond, VA

14 Growing Urban Agriculture Lynchburg Grows -- Lynchburg, VA Tricycle Gardens – Richmond, VA Shalom Farms – Richmond, VA Urban Agriculture Collective – Charlottesville, VA Our Community Farm – Harrisonburg, VA New Community Project – Harrisonburg, VA Project Grows – Verona, VA And many more!!!

15 Ways Local Government Can Help Allow zoning for community gardening Include community gardening and urban agriculture in your general and comprehensive plan Establish a community garden program Conduct an inventory of available lands and lots and make the inventory easily accessible Establish a local food policy and community nutrition council

16 Accessing Land and Open Space Provide long-term leases (5-10 years or more Provide access to land for the duration of the gardening season Waive liability insurance requirements for community gardens on publicly-owned land. Inventory and assess available public property for use as community gardens. Reduce taxes or fees on land used for community gardening. Establish development easements or zoning that prevent buildings from being developed on the property to protect the permanency of and lower the tax burden to the community garden. Consider agricultural or community gardening zoning to reduce costs and support development. These spaces can create livability in higher-density housing areas. Source: Gardening Matters: Supporting Community Gardens

17 17 For more information, visit

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21 Where to get technical assistance? Virginia Cooperative Extension and Master Gardener program American Community Gardening Association USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service USDA – People’s Garden Center USDA – National Agriculture Library USDA – Food and Nutrition Service Local Parks and Recreation Department Gardening Matters

22 References American Planning Association Community Garden Policy Reference Guide Cultivating Community Gardens: The role of local government in creating healthy, livable neighborhoods Local Government Commission Virginia Farm to Table blog Virginia Food System Council Virginia Foundation For Healthy Youth

23 23 Contact: Eric S. Bendfeldt Extension Specialist, Community Viability Phone: 540-432-6029 Ext. 106 Email:

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