The community garden is a staple in American urban life. Its function is multi-faceted, serving as a respite from city life, providing citizens with fresh wholesome sustenance, creating a commons for all to use and even serving as a force for social equity and justice. Sacramento has a plethora of community gardens tailored to serve all those needs. As many urban planners throughout our country’s history have noted, the need for a third place is critical to a successful urban life. Gardens provide that too. And one doesn’t need to be a gardener to enjoy their bounty. Here’s a short list of community gardens in our town, with some of the most beautiful and most socially relevant functions.
Bill Bean Jr. Park Community Garden
7400 17th Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95820
(916) 808-5200
cityofsacramento.org

The Bill Bean Jr. Park Community Garden is set up with 31, 10′ x15′ garden plots. It features an orchard with semi-dwarf fruit trees and a designated herb area. The garden has its own storage shed complete with compost bins for any organic waste and a picnic table. There are three plots that are fully compliant with the American Disability Act for any handicapped gardeners.

Camellia Park Community Garden
6650 Cougar Drive
Sacramento, CA 95828
(916) 808-4943
cityofsacramento.org

The Camellia Park Community Garden pulls double duty. It only has six plots, but its location is right next to the Camellia Elementary School. It’s also the newest addition to the Sacramento City Unified School District, which utilizes the space for school activities and other community educational purposes. Call or visit the garden’s website for a list of educational programs, including seminars on backyard composting and making your garden as environmentally sustainable as possible.

Fremont Community Garden
14th St. and Q St.
Sacramento, CA 95811
(916) 808-4943
fremontgarden.wordpress.com

An oasis downtown, the Fremont Community Garden is big. Twenty-eight small 10’x10′ plots and 28 large 20’x10′, including four accessible American Disability ACT compliant plots, are available for rent to residents of the city. Rental prices range from $15 to $30. This garden is the definition of “community.” Get on the waiting list, and grab your own little piece of Sacramento.

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J. Neely Johnson Park Community Garden
516 11th St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 425-6104
cityofsacramento.org

J. Neely Johnson Park Community Garden is a bit smaller than the others on this list, but holds some great community opportunities. With 10 plots and one raised plot to handicapped accessibility, this garden is an intimate foray into gardening, whether you are a gardener or just looking to peruse, buy or even trade for local, sustainable produce. The garden is located inside the J. Neely Johnson Park, so take an afternoon, spin through the park and stop by the community garden.

Martin Luther King Jr. Community Garden
3668 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95817
(916) 808-4943
cityofsacramento.org

Thirty-eight plots, a robust common area and a fruit tree orchard all dedicated to the icon of modern civil disobedience sit at the philosophical center of this memorial garden. The philosophy is compounded by a growing awareness of “food deserts” in America’s urban centers. The Martin Luther King Jr. Community Garden attempts to counterbalance the dearth of urban fresh food. It’s an ethos that MLK himself would be proud of.

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Christopher Millard is a freelance writer and cultural critic whose music reviews can be found on Examiner.com. He also works as a publicist for Valence Communications Group and is a contributor to the health and wellness magazine, Hybrid. Chris currently resides in Sacramento, California.
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