from Eugene Parks and Open Space
The lottery for new gardeners in the Parks and Open Space Community Gardens program has opened for the new year. Lottery entries will be accepted until Feb. 15.
As the price of fresh fruits and vegetables continues to climb, the Community Gardens program provides space for gardeners to grow wholesome and healthy food.
This past year, the City’s six community gardens accommodated 402 gardeners, a record number for the program.
Due to the popularity of the community gardens and the high number of returning gardeners each year (92% retention from 2021 to 2022), new applicants are entered into a lottery following the renewal period for current gardeners.
Low-income gardeners can apply for a scholarship program with discounted plot fees. In 2022, we awarded more than 52 scholarships with the help of a grant from Whole Foods. A majority of our gardeners do not own their home; 20% have children in their household.
Community-based organizations can apply for waived plot fees through the Community Partnership program. Currently, seven organizations manage garden plots to serve their clients or communities including Community Supported Shelters and Huerto de la Familia.
These new initiatives have helped make the community gardens accessible to more people while engaging new and diverse communities.
“With the increase in participation we have gained more diversity of people than I have seen in my dozen year tenure,” says Susan Thomas, a site coordinator at the Whiteaker Community Garden. “We have people in their late 80’s, babies, small children, teens and 20’s at the garden. We have non-English speakers as well as many ESL speakers, and participants with incomes ranging from comfortable to struggling, with a skew towards struggling.”
Community garden applications and additional information can be found at eugene-or.gov/communitygardens