Green City Growers

Year Complete: 2015
Grant Amount: $25,000
Local Government: City of Salt Lake City, UT
Local Foundation: The Community Foundation of Utah

Project Purpose

To establish community gardens on city-owned and managed land to increase access to fresh local produce and reduce barriers to urban food production.

Key Lessons Learned

Lessons learned about tools and tactics through the project that other sustainability directors could use to advance their work.

Local place-based foundations were incredibly interested in thinking more broadly about local projects, and learning about how they could support healthy food access initiatives. These collaborations presented unique opportunities to increase awareness among funders around all the exciting initiatives Salt Lake City was working on, and where funding could best be used to make an impact locally in advancing a more economically and environmentally sustainable Salt Lake City.

Community garden participation was most consistent when a garden was developed as a long-term investment instead of a short-term solution to blighted parcels that were slated for development. Access to water, ample sun exposure, and especially funding for initial capital improvements were cited as the top three barriers to developing community gardens.

Lessons for developing a collaborative process between a local government sustainability director and local place-based foundation(s).

By connecting with other sustainability directors, Salt Lake City learned that community gardens were most successful when they are invested in long-term and have a full-time coordinator or non-profit partner to help ensure that the gardens were managed and maintained throughout the years when garden leadership changes and community participation fluctuated.

Additional Information and Resources

This project fit in well with the city’s sustainability goals as laid out in their 2015 plan.  The Sustainable City Dashboard is an excellent tool for tracking the city’s progress towards these goals.  City funding for Green City Growers is ongoing.  More information can be found here.