Get a nonprofit sponsor and support for a community garden

The Community Gardens Program helps start gardens that the community supports and will benefit from. You will need a nonprofit sponsor, plus letters of support from residents, businesses, and community organizations in the area.

This service is a part of:
This service is a part of:
  1. Get letters of support from:

    • friends
    • neighbors (can be owners or renters)
    • neighborhood associations
    • neighborhood businesses
    • and key stakeholders (e.g., schools, churches, park users).

    Any neighboring entity or contiguous landowner must provide a letter of support. However, the more support you can get for the garden the better its chances of success. If the garden is next to or within a neighborhood with a Homeowner's Association (HOA), you can get a letter of support from the HOA rather than individual letters from each household. The Community Gardens Program provides an optional templateopen_in_new for letters of support.

  2. Get support from a sponsoring nonprofit in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The Community Gardens Program provides an optional templateopen_in_new for this MOU, but it should reflect the agreement between the community garden and the sponsoring nonprofit. The basic requirement of the MOU is that the nonprofit will provide liability insurance coverage for the garden and receive the water bill. This is available from the Austin Parks Foundation for gardens on city owned land. You may email Kathleen Barron at the Austin Parks Foundationopen_in_new at kathleen@austinparks.org.

    Any 501(c)3 nonprofit can support your community garden, but consider working with a nonprofit that knows the process, such as Sunshine Gardenopen_in_new, Austin Parks Foundationopen_in_new, Green Corn Projectopen_in_new, or Austin Green Artopen_in_new.

    Choose a nonprofit by considering their ability to assist with some or all of the following:

    • Technical support, including assistance creating and submitting your community garden permit application
    • Communicating with City staff and other community organizations
    • Finding grant money for garden design and building costs
    • Paying water bills
    • Keeping track of grant funds, donations, and plot rental fees
    • Recruiting volunteers to help install the garden

    After your community garden permit application is approved, the nonprofit will need to apply to the city for a License Agreement with the Office of Real Estate. The community garden coordinator will assist with this step.

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