Garden sharing

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Garden sharing is a local food and urban farming arrangement where a landowner allows a gardener access to land, typically a front or back yard, in order to grow food.

This may be an informal, one-to-one relationship, but numerous Web-based projects exist to facilitate matchmaking. In some cases, garden sharing projects are launched as a way to shorten community garden waiting lists that are common in many cities.[1][2]


Garden sharing arrangements take two main forms. The simplest is an agreement between two parties: one supplies the land, the other supplies the labour, and the proceeds are shared. In larger collaborations, groups, often neighbours, share garden spaces, labour and the harvest.[3]

The specifics addressed by a garden sharing agreement are potentially numerous, and the contract itself may be simple or exhaustive. Issues to be considered include terms of access, acceptable behavior, and who supplies what as far as gardening equipment and supplies. At one end of the scale, a verbal arrangement may be all that is expected.[4] However, garden sharing organisations often suggest a written agreement and supply sample contracts.[5][6][7] Organisers may also interview participants before suggesting a match.[8]

Garden sharing projects[edit]

The Web is frequently used as a platform for initiating garden sharing arrangements. Web sites connecting landowners and growers are generally free and non-commercial. Web sites are instituted by a variety of parties, including private individuals, government agencies, and non-profit groups.

North America[edit]

Numerous local, regional and national programs exist across the U.S. and Canada. Examples include:

  •, matching garden owners with gardeners in Los Angeles County, California, is run by the L.A. Community Garden Council, overseer of community gardens in Los Angeles.
  • of Portland, Oregon, is a free online service devoted to connecting renters with landowners, with the goal of creating food for all. The website, created in 2007 by Joshua Patterson, resulted from a local media campaign to find relief for the Portland Community Gardens Program.[1]
  • is a free, U.S.-based international service that matches garden owners with gardeners, and facilitates the set-up of neighbourhood produce exchanges and other sharing projects.[1]
  •, run by a sustainability NPO in Victoria, British Columbia, was launched in 2006 by a volunteer at a community garden—the free programme is now in over 20 cities across North America.[2]
  •, matching garden owners with gardeners in the Seattle, Washington (U.S. state) region, is the result of a collaboration between an individual and a local sustainability group.[9]


Landshare is a high-profile national garden sharing project in England, spearheaded by celebrity chef and TV personality Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, in conjunction with public-service broadcaster Channel 4. Growers, landowners and volunteers can, at no charge, register their interest in participating in a share in their area. There are over 40,000 members. Although this is a number that have registered since 2009 when the social enterprise was first publicised widely, since then its activity has decreased. [10][11] Scotland, has only one project, a charity called Edinburgh Garden Partners which has over 60 gardens throughout the city shared by volunteers. The charity aims to promote locally grown food and the skills of doing so with supporting older and disabled people who can no longer manage their garden.

In France a similar project, name "prêter son jardin" (share your garden) was developed in 2010 by a journalist.


Garden sharing projects are also incorporated into larger sustainability schemes. Transition Town Totnes (Totnes, England)[12][13][14] and Transition Timaru (Timaru, NZ)[15] have instituted garden sharing projects as part of their Transition Towns efforts to prepare communities on a local level for the effects of climate change and peak oil.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Modern-day share-cropping Los Angeles Times, June 20, 2009
  2. ^ a b Garden-sharing program bears fruit The Star, July 10, 2009
  3. ^ Like an eager vine, urban garden sharing spreads its roots The Oregonian, June 04, 2009
  4. ^ "Growing Relations" Urban Garden Share, US
  5. ^ The Sharing Solution by Emily Doskow, Janelle Orsi pp. 259-262 (Nolo, 2009)
  6. ^ 'Sharecropper contract' binds landowner, gardener by Cathy Locke. Colorado Springs Gazette. June 1, 2009.
  7. ^ "Sample agreements: Pro forma templates" Landshare, UK
  8. ^ Grassroots garden sharing scheme blooms (The Bath Chronicle). May 27, 2009.
  9. ^ Saving the planet, one block, one small project at a time by Mary Rothschild. Seattle Times. August 10, 2009.
  10. ^ Garden sharing scheme to fight credit crunch. (Lincolnshire Echo). March 21, 2009.
  11. ^ Landshare, in conjunction with public-service broadcaster Channel 4.
  12. ^ Transition Town Totnes Garden Share Project is part of the Transition Towns initiative in Totnes, Devon, England.
  13. ^ Transition: gearing up for the great power-down by Luke Leitch. TimesOnline (The Times). November 17, 2008.
  14. ^ Garden scheme to grow food (video) BBC News. Monday, 13 October 2008.
  15. ^ Berry, Michael (August 12, 2009). "Local food advocates seek Aoraki links". The Timaru Herald. Retrieved September 30, 2011. 

External links[edit]