Lack of access to water is the single most vexing problem for Community Gardens in San Diego

The City of San Diego has a  hands off policy for Community Gardens ,at least when it comes to providing reasonable access to water.  Although the recent Community Garden Code Update for the Community Gardens in the City of San Diego made it easier to start a community garden it didn’t address the problem of water.  Most community gardeners expect to pay for the water they use. but it is the high cost of installing a water meter that makes the cost of providing water to a community garden prohibitive.  Currently gardens are expected to meet the same requirements for a water meter as residential housing or commercial businesses.  The high cost of installing a permitted water meter is a serious deterrent to starting gardens in Parks, on City land and on private property that does not already have an installed meter.  Even when there is a meter nearby access can still be a problem.  Below are two recent stories that illustrate the problem.

“Garden Brings Affordable Housing Tenants Together”

“City Hall Runaround Leaves Community Gardens High and Dry”

“City Hall Runaround Leaves Community Gardens High and Dry”

“Living Laboratories in Community Gardens” selected as a finalist.

Posted on July 25, 2013 by CGNetwork

We are happy to announce our proposal “Living Laboratories in Community Gardens” is amongst the five finalists in the VOSD Idea Tournament that will compete for the $5,000 grant from the Malin Burnham Center for Civic Engagement at Politifest on Saturday August 3at 1 pm at NTC Liberty Station.

Here is the proposal we submitted:


We love gardens in homes and public spaces they beautify our surroundings and put food on our tables.  In an urban environment, gardens provide oases of nature, improving our sense of wellbeing and place and giving us a chance to learn to live in harmony with nature. At the same time, given the scarcity of water in our region, gardening challenges us to develop projects that are environmentally and ecologically friendly. These are great things!

Our proposal is to create a project inspired by the question: What if we also thought of gardens as meeting places where people from different walks of life could gather and learn from one another in creative ways? What if gardens:

● brought community and university members together through shared learning projects?

● were places that integrate urban agriculture and technology to promote food security, environmental stewardship, and digital literacy?

● could be connected through social networks to help generate and share local urban agriculture innovations?

● became longterm sources of community enrichment?

This is the vision of gardens that the San Diego Community Garden Network has been working to make a reality in San Diego County for more than four years. Through a new joint program with UCSD called Green STEAM Communities, the Garden Network will be working with the City of Chula Vista, Surfrider Ocean Friendly Gardens, and La Gracia y Paz Church to make this vision a reality in a recently started community garden.

Green STEAM Communities and partners will design a permanent living laboratory and integrate it into the garden by offering a class open to university students and community members and built on our experience teaching at Kearny High School, for which Green STEAM won the San Diego Science Educators Association’s 2013 award for excellence in science education. The class will integrate our current web sharing, digital sensor, and Googlebased mapping tools into gardening activities. When completed, the living laboratory will join two others in Linda Vista. Please visit the following links to learn more about how this will work:

● www.greensteamcommunities.org

● www.sandiegocommunitygardennetwork.org

It is our intention that the learning laboratory at the Chula Vista Community Garden will serve as a pilot for replicating the permanent integration of learning laboratories in communitybased gardens throughout San Diego.  Starting from a belief in our vision and the value of combining university servicelearning and community hands on projects, we plan to hit the ground running with our partners in Chula Vista.


Grant funding will be used for instructor salaries, web infrastructure development, and materials for the learning laboratory, including gardening equipment, digital garden sensors, and computer microcontrollers that will be used to translate the measurements gathered by the sensors into information that can be presented on the Web.  Other funding and inkind support has already been committed to help complete the garden elements..


1. August through October: 2013: curriculum development, living laboratory design for the site

2. November through January 2013: build the learning laboratory, complete selection of participants for the pilot 8 week class

3. February through April 2014: conduct class and complete postevalution


You are invited to attend one or more of these events and if you want to know more about local urban ag policies take a look at the resources and documents on the Resource page under Community Garden Policy Issues.
2013 Farm Bill Series
View our new Tumbler (o the lower right of each page) for local garden stories and growing ideas from near and far.  Learn about Guerilla gardening in LA or about the new community garden springing up next door. From TED Talks you want to share to event invites, this is the place to have your say. To submit a post send your event, photo, video or story to Riley at SDCGNetwork@gmail.com
Ron Finley- Guerilla Gardener

Updated Community Garden Map

Posted on December 4, 2012 by admin

We have a new map with more gardens and a new registration form.  Have a look and if the your San Diego County garden hasn’t registered or updated you garden ask your membership person to update the information by completing the short register your garden form. The new map is non-proprietary, giving it the added benefit of allowing it to be layered and compared with other collected GIS data.

One Response to Updates

  1. admin says:

    Please look at our “How to Start and Manage a Commmunity Garden” on our resource page. If you need additional help contact us at plantsandiego@gmail.com.

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