Last Updated: 2010-10-08

What do I need to know about the Richmond Grows Gardens Program?

The City of Richmond is proud to support urban agriculture through its Richmond Grows Gardens Program by making city owned property available for Commercial Gardens and Community Gardens.

What is the difference between a Community Garden and a Commercial Garden?

A Community Garden means city property used to grow fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs, wood products or native or ornamental plants for non-commercial purposes, in which there is no exchange of goods for monetary value. A gardener cannot sell anything grown in a Community Garden.

A Commercial Garden means city property leased from the City of Richmond and used by the lessee to grow fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs, wood products, or native or ornamental plants to exchange for monetary value off-site. A gardener can sell what he grows in a Commercial Garden but he must do so off-site.

What is the process to apply for a Commercial Garden?

A Commercial Garden requires a lease between the applicant and the City. First submit an on-line application at www.richmondgov.com/communitygardens. After your application has been reviewed, you will be referred to the appropriate contact in the City of Richmond's Economic and Community Development Department where you will be able to negotiate the terms of your lease which includes a commercial insurance requirement. The lease may be up to five years with renewal periods.

What is the process to apply for a Community Garden?

Only incorporated organizations, unincorporated organizations and government organizations may apply for a Community Garden. A Community Garden requires a permit between the organization (Garden Group) and the City. Only an authorized representative of a Garden Group may submit an on-line application for the permit at www.richmondgov.com/communitygardens.

What is the length of a Community Garden permit?

The permit between the City and the Garden Group is revocable and terminable at will for any reason, upon due notice, by either the City or the Garden Group, and it is for the annual use of city property for a period not to exceed 12 months from the date of any such issuance.

What is the fee for a Community Garden permit?

There is a non-refundable fee of $50.00 for the first year. This fee covers administrative costs from January 1 through December 31 of the calendar year. There is a non-refundable annual renewal fee of $25.

How does the City prioritize applications for a Community Garden permit?

The city will process Garden Group applications on a first come, first served basis. A waiting list will be maintained for applicants when no parcels are available.

Can individuals participate in the Richmond Grows Gardens Program?

Yes. We encourage individuals that want to garden to contact a Garden Group that has a parcel and is offering plots. A Garden Group can choose to divide its parcel into individual plots. If it does so, then the Group must create a process to offer individual plots to approved gardeners on an annual basis subject to renewal on a first come, first served basis. The Group may charge a fee for each plot but the fee cannot be more than $50 per plot. Garden Groups must also have a process to provide a minimum of 10% of available plots to residents that cannot afford the fee charged by the Garden Group. This will help support the City's goal of encouraging and facilitating access to fresh, nutritional food for residents and particularly those in underserved communities.

What are the requirements for the Community Garden application process?

The Garden Group applying for a permit must meet the following requirements: provide proof of insurance in the amount of $250,000; provide an original signed Release, Waiver of Liability, and Indemnification Agreement; pay an application fee of $50 for an initial application or $25 for a renewal application; designate a Coordinator to be responsible for its Community Garden; demonstrate that it adequately informed the neighborhood of its plans to create a Community Garden on a case by case basis as determined by the Richmond Grows Gardens Coordinator; and provide an original signed Release, Waiver of Liability, and Indemnification Agreement from each individual who participates in the community garden. Individual waivers are required within seven calendar days of an individual agreeing to participate in the Richmond Grows Gardens Program. Failure to send Individual Waivers will result in the Garden Group being solely responsible for the defense of and compensation for any and all personal injuries and/or property damage sustained as a result of an individual's participation in the Richmond Grows Gardens Program. The Richmond Grows Gardens Coordinator is available to assist your Group with questions about any of these requirements.

Can gardeners sell the items they produce in Community Gardens?

No. Neither Garden Groups nor gardeners can sell produce from a Community Garden. If gardeners want to sell produce they should apply for a lease for a Commercial Garden.

Can gardeners have livestock or pets in Community Gardens?

No pets, animals or livestock are allowed on any Community Garden. Livestock or animals may only be allowed on a Commercial Garden if permitted under applicable City code provisions and the terms of the lease.

Are there maintenance guidelines for Community and Commercial Gardens?

Garden Groups and commercial gardeners are responsible for maintaining the entire parcel in good condition including regular mowing of the parcel, maintaining weeds and grasses, and regular harvesting and removal of dead/dying plants and rotting vegetables. Gardeners must maintain their plot throughout the growing season with active planting, harvesting and weeding. Gardeners shall use only organic fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides, and use them in such a way as not to affect other plots. The Richmond Grows Gardens Coordinator will check all parcels on a periodic basis to ensure compliance with the Rules and Guidelines.

Are fences and structures allowed on Community and Commercial Gardens?

Garden Groups and commercial gardeners may use non-permanent structures such as sheds with non-permanent foundations, fences, raised beds, trellises, and deck box containers. Gardeners must maintain any structures in good repair. The building and maintenance of fences and other structures must adhere to the Richmond Grows Gardens Rules and Guidelines and building code requirements where applicable.

How will gardeners know the soil condition for Community and Commercial Gardens?

All parcels were researched, assessed and tested by the City of Richmond before being offered for use as a garden site. The Richmond Grows Gardens Coordinator will notify the Garden Group or commercial gardener if the parcel's soil condition requires the use of raised beds or containers.

What are the options for watering Community and Commercial Gardens?

The City recommends using water conservation methods such as mulching and selecting plants that use less water. Low-water gardening methods are also encouraged. Options for watering gardens are explained in detail in the "Watering Your Garden" section which appears at the end of the Richmond Grows Gardens Rules and Guidelines.

Contact Information:

Community Gardens
City of Richmond
900 E. Broad St., Suite 600
Richmond, VA
23219 USA
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Hours: Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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