Community Gardening and Urban Agriculture in Raleigh

Last updated Oct. 24, 2017 - 10:28 am
Community Garden

The presence of agriculture in the urban environment has a positive impact on the natural environment, the local economy, social relations, and household economic behavior, all of which contribute to livability in Raleigh.

The City of Raleigh supports these efforts through grants and by providing free yard waste compost for community gardens.

Community Garden and Urban Agriculture Grants

There are two types of grants that the City provides to promote community gardens and urban agriculture in Raleigh.

The Environmental Advisory Board promotes the personal and societal benefits of urban agriculture through an Urban Agriculture Grant as part of the Environmental Awards program. The grants are intended for a community garden or urban agriculture project that benefits a community in Raleigh.

The Housing and Neighborhoods Department also provides Neighborhood Improvement Funds to encourage and enhance neighborhoods. There are two levels of these grants which range in amount from $250 up to $1,000 for a variety of projects including pollinator habitat, community gardens, urban agriculture and tree planting.

Find out who won the 2017 Urban Agriculture Awards!

Read about the 2016 Urban Agriculture Day and the Urban Agriculture Winners.

Pollinators in Raleigh

Raleigh is one of more than 40 cities across the nation to officially become a Bee City USA. This is a joint effort between the City and community partners to educate the public and provide support for pollinators and habitats in Raleigh.

Raleigh also supports pollinators and pollinator habitats with grants.


Create your own community garden

Did you know that you can create a community garden?

View our video on the History of Urban Garden Programs

Community gardening is allowed on private property almost anywhere in Raleigh, provided the following conditions are met:

Appropriate Zoning

Swiss Chard

In Raleigh, community gardens are allowed as a principal use of a property in all Residential or Mixed Use zoning districts, although they may be subject to certain conditional or special use approvals. Details are listed in the Unified Development Ordinance, Section 6.1.4 (Allowed Principle Use Table) and 6.6.1.B. (Community Gardens). A site's zoning may be checked on the City-wide Zoning Map or iMaps (interactive mapping program).


Baby Bell Pepper

Structures and/or site uses related to creating a community garden must meet applicable standards of the City code (e.g., shed size/placement, site maintenance, etc.).

Other Items for Consideration

Soil: Check the soil for contamination by having a soil test performed by the Wake County Cooperative Extension

Sun: Ensure that the site is not shaded by nearby buildings or trees. An open south facing space is best because vegetables need at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day. Shade in a small area can be beneficial for creating a shade garden and a comfortable seating area.

Access: Make sure the community garden is accessible to the street and sidewalk.

Slope: Slope is an extra challenge and may make it difficult for people with mobility challenges. Flat lots are usually preferable. Terracing can also be used to create flat plots.

Water: Verify that there is access to piped water at the site. Wise water management should be (and generally is) a basic tenet of community gardening. It can be expensive to install a water line and water meter.

Local Regulations:

  • Check on the zoning for the site;
  • Comply with all current ordinances; and,
  • Confirm that the site is not in a floodplain.

Neighbors: Discuss with the adjoining neighbors.

Community Garden Contact

Shovel and Trowel

For more information, contact Cindy Holmes 919-996-4285

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