Basics

What is the Community Gardens project?

ACFB’s Community Gardens project offers assistance to more than 100 new and existing gardens across metro Atlanta. Volunteers and neighbors come together to grow fresh, healthy food to nourish communities and neighborhoods.

The benefits of Community Gardening are boundless. It stimulates social interaction, beautifies neighborhoods and produces nutritious foods while reducing food budgets. Each garden is a joint effort where friends and neighbors not only share responsibilities, but often the rewards of their harvest as well! 

The needs of the gardens we work with are as varied as the gardens themselves. We provide everything from expertise and seeds to tilling and tools. We couldn’t do it without our volunteers who help prepare the soil, plant seeds, weed, harvest produce and more!

For more information on all aspects of ACFB’s Community Gardens project, contact Community Gardens at gardens@acfb.org or 404.892.FEED (3333) x1216.

FAQ

What does the Community Gardens project do?
We assist new and existing groups with siting, planning and organizing community gardens. We provide volunteers, resources and expertise to help the gardens flourish.

Who is involved in the Community Gardens project?
Gardens can be built and maintained by groups of neighbors, faith-based groups, schools, members of ACFB partner agencies and other community groups. Volunteers are also essential to the success of most of the gardens we work with.

How many community gardens does ACFB help?
At any given time, we assist over 100 gardens across metro Atlanta. Most have between 12 and 50 garden plots.

Where are community gardens planted?
Gardens are planted anywhere there is available space, from abandoned vacant lots to unused grassy patches to old railroad beds to senior housing and apartment building green space.

What is done with the gardens’ yield?
Almost all of the produce harvested in community gardens are used by the gardeners themselves. Some is donated to ACFB partner agencies through the Plant a Row for the Hungry campaign.

How do I join an existing community garden?
Contact Community Gardens at gardens@acfb.org or 404.892.FEED (3333) x1216.

How do I start a new community garden?
It really takes a committed group of people to plant and maintain a community garden. Once your group is ready to make the commitment, contact Community Gardens at communitygardens@acfb.org or 404.892.FEED (3333) x1216.

What if I already have a garden in my yard, but I want to help?
A great way for “backyard gardeners” to help is by participating in the Plant a Row for the Hungry campaign. You can literally plant to donate by planting an extra row or simply donate your extras as your harvest comes in. You can find your nearest drop-off point here.

Start a garden

If you are part of a neighborhood, school, faith-based or other community group that has the commitment of several people who are interested in working together, your dream of starting a community garden has the potential to become a reality! You’ll need a committed group to plan, prepare, plant, maintain and harvest your garden. Our primary interest is in assisting with gardening projects that will enhance the food supply of low-income families and individuals. ACFB’s Community Gardens coordinator can offer help with finding a site, organizing the gardeners, gathering resources and providing volunteers. The best time of year to begin gardening plans are the months of January, February and March.

We recommend planting these vegetable SEEDS directly in your garden in late April and any time in May:
  • Snap Beans, pole and bush types
  • Butter Beans (best with a trellis to climb)
  • Black eyed beans/peas
  • Crowder Beans
  • Black Turtle Beans
  • Cantaloupe
  • Water melon 
  • Yellow Squash
  • Zucchini Squash
  • Butternut Winter Squash
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Patty Pan Squash
  • Sweet Corn
  • Pop Corn
  • Cucumbers, all types
  • Pumpkins
  • Okra
  • Peanuts
  • Sunflowers, zinnias and cosmos to attract pollinators.
 
We recommend planting these vegetable PLANTS in your garden in May:
  • Tomato
  • Pepper
  • Eggplant
  • Basil
  • Sweet Potato slips
 
For many Cool Season (leaf and root) crops we have two planting seasons.  Mid to late August for fall and winter harvest and March for spring harvest. Cool season crops that are planted by seed for Northwest Georgia include:
  • Beets
  • Radishes
  • Lettuce
  • Arugula
  • Collards
  • Cabbage
  • Turnips
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Rutabagas
  • English Peas
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Snow Peas
 *Potatoes are also planted in these windows but not as seed.  Sprout, halve and plant the edible part of the potato.
 
Onions and Garlic are best planted in October for May or June harvest.
 
We can and should grow vegetables year-round in Georgia!
Wish List

Cultivating bountiful gardens is tough work and a variety of tools are needed to help staff and volunteers maintain each garden properly. Donations of new or gently used garden tools are a big help!  Our most needed tools include:

  • Shears
  • Shovels
  • Mowers
  • Clippers
  • Rakes
  • Tillers
  • Garden hoes
  • Post-hole diggers
  • Power Tools
Volunteering

Volunteers are needed throughout the year. Projects include land clearing, soil preparation, planting, weeding, harvesting and much more!  Schedules are flexible Mondays – Saturdays, and most shifts last three hours. Volunteers should dress appropriately for the weather and wear closed-toed shoes.

Get all the details on volunteering for Community Gardens

Plant a Row

We encourage local gardeners to plant an extra row of veggies in their gardens and donate the harvest! Designated ACFB partner agencies across metro Atlanta serve as drop-off sites for your produce donations. It’s all part of the national “Plant a Row for the Hungry” program started in 1995 by the Garden Writers Association. Last year’s effort garnered 106,292 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables. What a great way to get healthy food on the tables of those in need! Also, many donations also come from gardeners who simply have extra veggies they don’t want to see go to waste. Find your nearest “Plant a Row” drop-off site.

Plant an extra row in your garden to help feed the hungry!