The City of Madison believes that community gardens can improve equitable access to multiple social, environmental and health assets:
- Increase access to safe, healthy and culturally appropriate food;
- Assure safe and available land for individuals to grow food; and
- Provide accessible public spaces that increase social connectedness and cohesion, particularly for lower-income, minority and immigrant community members.
The City of Madison provides support through coordination across all city departments that believe in the power of gardens to transform neighborhoods by making public land available (half of all community gardens in Madison are located on city-owned land) and offering logistical support in garden infrastructure:
- Parks Department
- Streets Department
- Public Health Madison and Dane County
- Community Development Division
- Mayor's Office
The Gardens Network
The City of Madison supports community gardens by funding and participating in the Gardens Network, a partnership of Dane County UW-Extension, the City of Madison, and Community GroundWorks.
The day-to-day operations of the program are housed at Community Goundworks. Learn more about the day-to-day operations.
The Community Gardens Partnership will reach far beyond the core partners to include the vast array of organizations, systems, municipalities, initiatives, and programs working on community food issues. As the partnership expands, the participation and scope will naturally expand.
Research indicates community gardens can support increases in social capital, foster health and well-being, build on existing assets, and develop sustainable ecology. Community gardens create this range of benefits at the individual, family, and neighborhood levels.
We connect people in Dane County with access to the space, education and resources to create and sustain gardens that foster food, engagement and opportunity.
We envision diverse, productive, self-sustaining gardens that have strong leaders and communities connected by a shared purpose, by a sense of belonging and by a deep socio-cultural understanding.
- Greater access to healthy food
- Community engagement and empowerment
- Neighborhood development
- Leadership development
- Sustainable land management and stewardship
- Youth development and employment