We don’t have to live in a rural area or even the suburbs to be a farmer these days. According to the Trust for Public Land, the 10 best cities for homegrown veggies from urban gardens are Seattle, Washington (a P-Patch program provides 68 gardens for residents throughout the city); Portland, Oregon (its Produce for People program donates fresh produce to local hunger agencies); Long Beach, California (growing anything from sugar cane and lemongrass to sunflowers and tomatoes); St. Paul, Minnesota (17 community gardens—half run by nonprofits and half open to rent); Honolulu, Hawaii (1,254 plots for public use); San Jose, California (19 community gardens on 35 acres); Baltimore, Maryland (community gardens cover 11 acres throughout the city); Washington, D.C. (a Master Peace Farm program tends area gardens and mentors budding veggie growers at an adjoining middle school); Anchorage, Alaska (a city goal is enabling residents to work together in harmony); and Louisville, Kentucky (Brightside’s community garden program, established 19 years ago, currently manages 10 of Louisville’s 16 gardens).
These gardens not only extol the virtues of fresh, local and often organic foods, they also bring communities together. Some produce food for those in need, others have youth programs and some have even been credited with reducing local crime rates. Many community gardens accept new members in the fall; visit acga.LocalHarvest.org to find one nearby and reserve a space.