Portland Community Garden Program
- The Portland Community Gardens program started in 1974. There are 47 gardens in the program portfolio.
- Over 1,300 plots are being rented by City of Portland residents in 2012. Approximately 3,000 people work on those plots.
- 1,000 families are on the waiting list for garden plots. Areas of inner southeast, inner northeast, and southwest Portland currently have the highest demand for garden plots.
- Gardeners rent a 100-sq-ft plot for $21 per year, a 200-sq-ft plot for $42 per year, and a 400-sq-ft plot for $85 per year. Scholarship assistance is available. The plot rental fee pays for the land and the water. Gardeners provide their own tools, plants, seeds, soil amendments, and any other supplies.
- Gardeners must use organic gardening methods.
- Each garden has a volunteer garden manager who provides garden leadership and works with program staff to provide garden maintenance, facilitate plot assignment and turn-over, and support the gardeners.
- Community gardens allow people to grow fresh, healthy food for their families. The program gives Portlanders an opportunity for outdoor recreation, physical activity, and community engagement.
In 2009, then-Governor Ted Kulongoski designated the Portland Community Gardens program as an Oregon Solutions project in order to identify ways to strengthen the program and increase Portlanders' access to fresh, healthy food. Under the guidance of Commissioner Nick Fish, the Oregon Solutions process engaged stakeholders, representing over 30 local public and private organizations and governmental entities, to identify ways to expand and enhance the Portland Community Gardens program. Specific findings include the need for developing strategic partnerships to obtain funding, provide education, and reach new communities not currently served by the program.
The City of Portland and Multnomah County Climate Action Plan identified food and agriculture as an area of focus. Objective 15 of the plan seeks to significantly increase the consumption of local food through various strategies, including action (iii) to "…develop or facilitate 1,000 new community garden plots." Commissioner Nick Fish established the Community Gardens Initiative to achieve the Climate Action goal.