Community gardens throughout Madison and Dane County, Wisconsin are thriving. There are approximately 60 community gardens in the area, and many gardens have doubled and tripled in size over the past several years. Across at least 30 acres of garden plots, more than 2000 households come together to grow fresh vegetables and much more. In the gardens, gardeners become more self-sufficient and empowered by growing their own food. Diverse people come together to produce food and find natural outgrowths of personal relationships, cross-cultural exchange, community development, beautification, environmental justice, crime prevention, leadership, and self-reliance for their neighborhood as a whole.
After three decades of support for community gardens, the Community Action Coalition for South Central Wisconsin, Inc. (CAC) discontinued their gardens program in May 2014. To ensure that community gardens throughout Dane County continue to receive support, the Gardens Network formed: a partnership of Community GroundWorks, Dane County UW Extension, and the City of Madison, dedicated to supporting community gardens. The Gardens Network fosters community gardening and greening in Madison and Dane County. The partnership of these organizations functions as a connector of resources for gardeners and garden leaders, organizations, municipalities, initiatives, and programs working on community food issues. This organizational partnership would not be complete without garden leaders and community gardeners, as well as other supportive organizations, who all together create our Gardens Network. Please view the Gardens Network brochure.
To foster healthy communities for individuals, youth, families and seniors in Madison and Dane County through community gardening and greening. We view gardens as ecological, social and cultural places to connect with others, be active, keep learning and give to the wider community.
- To increase access to safe, healthy and culturally appropriate food;
- To assure safe and available land to grow food;
- To provide accessible public spaces that increase social connectedness and cohesion, particularly for lower-income, minority and immigrant community members.
- To support community well-being through gardening and greening.
Questions? We can help.
To reach the Gardens Network, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
For general garden inquiries, Dane County residents may contact the Dane County UW-Extension Master Gardener volunteers either on the Horticulture Hotline at 608-224-3721 or by email at email@example.com. These Master Gardener Plant Health Advisor volunteers can also answer questions about plant care, identification, pest management, and more. Please note, however, that the hotline and email are only staffed from May through October.