The American Community Gardening Association (ACGA) is a grassroots non-profit advocacy organization focused on community gardening. Our mission is to build community by increasing and enhancing community gardening and greening across the United States and Canada.
With over 1,000 individual and 252 organizational members, we link 2100 gardens across Canada and the US, ranging from family allotments to tiny pollinator pocket parks, and from school gardens to urban farms. Our proudly diverse membership includes active community gardeners, supportive volunteers, garden organizing and sponsoring organizations, governmental agencies, and horticultural professionals including teachers, horticultural therapists, Cooperative Extension agents, landscape architects, and academic researchers.
Founded in Chicago in 1979, ACGA is registered as a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Since 2014, Atlanta, Georgia, has been home to our offices. We are happy to share organizational and financial information with members, donors and funders. Recent IRS filings are available at www.guidestar.org.
We bring together people, resources, and education to benefit lives and neighborhoods through community gardening. From our beginnings, ACGA has encouraged networking among members to share community gardening information, experience, and best practices. We also offer formal educational opportunities, such as local and regional workshops, webinars, publications, and online resources. Our acclaimed annual conferences, hosted in a different city each year, bring together community garden practitioners, sponsors, and researchers from around the world. In response to the pandemic, we have adapted our educational initiatives, including our conference, to virtual formats.
ACGA is led by an all-volunteer board and elected officers. Our board members provide a virtual garden shed of diverse talents, passions, and experience. The Board meets in person twice a year, with committees meeting remotely each month. (Photo: Our Board of Directors 2023.)
Cathy Walker, President
College Park, GA
Chair: Executive Committee
Cordalie Benoit, Vice President
New Haven, CT
Chair: Governance Committee
Meghan Martin, Secretary
Co-chair Technology Committee
Fred Conrad, Treasurer
Chair: 2023 Conference Committee
Chair: Education Committee
Editor: The Cultivator enewsletter
Co-chair: Technology Committee
Chair: Development Committee
Co-chair Nominations Committee
Conference Committee liaison
New York, NY
Co-chair Nominations Committee
Chair Membership Committee
Community gardening benefits
Community gardens offer a long list of benefits, to individual gardeners and families, to neighborhoods, and to the broader community, including to residents with no direct involvement in a garden. These contributions are supported by research going back to the now legendary Victory Gardens of the Second World War and beyond. Community gardens are even more valuable in challenging times, such as now during the pandemic. A partial list of benefits includes:
Creating opportunities for healthful outdoor exercise, social interaction, horticultural therapy, and hands-on learning for all ages, incorporating safe social distancing and responsible behavior
Strengthening diverse grassroots leadership, shared decision making, neighborhood cohesion, and community organizing
Establishing common ground and shared community space that brings people together and encourages cooperation, friendship, and understanding among diverse groups
Serving as a catalyst for environmental justice with equitable community development and improvement without gentrification, through reducing crime, creating green infrastructure, preserving open space, and beautifying neighborhoods
Producing healthful food to improve nutrition and reduce family food costs, as well as growing fresh vegetables for distribution to those in need, and demonstrating environmentally sound and productive gardening techniques, including an honored place for heirloom vegetables and traditional varieties
Providing a place to garden for those who seek one, regardless of economic status or housing situation, so that all can benefit from gardening, America’s most popular outdoor passtime
ACGA’s overall goal is to help create and sustain successful community gardens and gardening programs, drawing on such strategies as:
Promoting local, regional, and state/province community gardening networks and organizations, and advocating supportive public policy
Actively encouraging cooperation among community gardeners, sponsors, and supporters
Providing grants and other resources to member gardens
Developing reliable community gardening information and making it widely available
Expanding community gardening research
Organizing educational events and training programs
Participating in broad food security coalitions in both rural and urban areas
Supporting school gardening, urban agriculture, horticultural therapy, food security, soil and water conservation, environmental stewardship, and other initiatives where community gardeners and garden organizations can share skills and experience
Inclusion, diversity, and values
"ACGA sees equity, diversity and inclusivity as essential sources of strength and knowledge in our community and we value and seek diverse membership and leadership.
Our Inclusiveness Policy states that the American Community Gardening Association does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff, selection of volunteers and vendors, and provision of services. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, clients, volunteers, subcontractors, vendors, and clients.
We believe that Black Lives Matter; that food security is a human right; that global warming is real and a looming threat now and to future generations; and that green infrastructure - including community gardens - and environmental stewardship are of the highest priority for communities, nations, and our shared planet."
If you share our passion for community gardens, join us!