How to Start, Join, or Expand a Garden or Orchard

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Start a Seed St. Louis Network Garden or Orchard

Register for an orientation to start your community garden, school garden, or orchard with Seed St. Louis. Already have an existing garden? Attend the orientation to learn how to become part of the network.

What is a Seed St. Louis Community Garden or Orchard?

A network project is simply a community or school garden or orchard project that has completed our development process.

Who is eligible to start a Seed St. Louis Network Garden or Orchard?
  • Projects (community garden, school garden, orchard, or urban farm) must be located within St. Louis City, St. Louis County in Missouri, and Madison County, and St. Clair County in Illinois.
  • Project (community garden, school garden, orchard, or urban farm) must not be within 0.25 miles of an existing Seed St. Louis network project, please visit the online map of projects to see what projects already exist in our network.
  • School gardens and orchards are required to be made up of more than just teachers. We like to see a mix of staff, parents, administration, and community members. Support from school administration is required.
  • Preference will be given to groups in historically underserved areas.
What is the process for starting a new Seed St. Louis Network Garden or Orchard?
  • Complete the New Project Orientation Registration
  • At least one member of your group must attend a New Project Orientation, we hold six orientations each year. Dates for attendance are listed in the New Project Interest Form.
  • With the help of a staff liaison, complete the four phases of the Garden and Orchard Development Process. This process has been designed by Seed St. Louis staff for long-term garden success. Activities that are included in the Garden and Orchard Development Process include, but are not limited to:
    • Creating a mission statement
    • Creating a yearly budget
    • Creating an asset map
    • Designing and layout of garden
How can our already established garden or orchard join the Seed St. Louis Network?

Do you already have an established garden or orchard and are interested in joining the Seed St. Louis network? Please follow the instructions for becoming a new garden above, this includes completing the New Project Interest form and attending a New Project Orientation.

What does it mean to be a Seed St. Louis Network Project?

A Seed St. Louis Network Project (community garden, school garden, orchard, or urban farm) is a project that has completed our development process. Seed St. Louis’ development process is a four phase planning process staff has developed for groups who want to create a garden or orchard. Seed St. Louis gardens and orchards run autonomously, they create their own rules, member lists, and maintenance schedules. This step by step process helps groups plan how they will run their garden or orchard project. Seed St. Louis will support gardens and orchards by providing the infrastructure, tools, discounted seedlings, expertise, and education needed for long-term success. Seed St. Louis does not charge a fee to be a part of the network.

What are the benefits of being a Seed St. Louis Network Garden or Orchard?

Seed St. Louis has found the steps groups go through to finish the development process are very beneficial to the sustainability of a community project. Network projects are eligible for many services that non-network projects are not eligible for including yearly garden and orchard expansions, vegetable seedlings, tool loans, the ability to receive volunteer groups through Seed St. Louis, reduced rates for educator-led classes, and an assigned staff liaison to help with questions. Orchards are also eligible to receive the recommended spray ingredients, limb spreaders, and regular pest and disease alerts and reminders.

What is the Development Process?

Seed St. Louis’s development process is simply a planning process we have developed for groups who want to create a community garden and/or orchard. This is a step by step process to help groups to plan how they will run their garden and/or orchard project. The steps in our process have been assembled based on our experience working with successful gardens and seeing what they have done as well as talking to our sister organizations in other major cities around the country.

Why would a garden want to become a Seed St. Louis Network Garden?

Firstly Seed St. Louis has found the steps groups go through to finish the development process are very beneficial to the sustainability of a community project. Secondly, network projects are eligible for many services that non-network projects are not eligible for including garden and orchard expansions, vegetable seedlings, tool loans, the ability to receive volunteer groups through Seed St. Louis, reduced rates for educator led classes, and an assigned staff liaison to help with questions. Orchards are also eligible to receive the recommended spray ingredients, limb spreaders, and regular pest and disease alerts and reminders.

If my project joins Seed’s Network will Seed run it or will we have to pay a membership fee?

No. Here at Seed St. Louis we believe strongly that the community projects we work with should be free to manage themselves. We do not manage any of the projects in our network and we charge no membership fees of any kind. All that is needed to join our network is to complete our development process with us.

What happens to the food grown in a Seed St. Louis Network Garden?

Each of Seed St. Louis’s community and youth gardens are independently managed according to their own organizational principles, so some may allow individuals or families to adopt particular beds while others may require all beds be used communally. Typically, the majority of the food grown in community and youth gardens is used directly by the growers, although most gardens also informally donate surplus produce to neighbors or nearby soup kitchens. A few community gardens are run exclusively as pantry gardens and donate 100% of their harvest, however such food distribution decisions are left up to each community garden’s discretion.

Expand your Seed St. Louis Garden or Orchard

Seed St. Louis accepts applications for expansion grants at select times. Email or call our Director of Projects at [email protected] or 314.588.9600×109.

Community Garden Expansion Application

Please check back in February of 2022 for Spring expansion application, and July of 2022 for Fall expansion application. If you have additional questions please contact our Director of Projects at [email protected] or 314.588.9600 ext. 109

Garden Application

Orchard Expansion Application

Please check back in February of 2022 for Spring expansion application, and July of 2022 for Fall expansion application. If you have additional questions please contact our Director of Education at [email protected] or 314.588.9600 ext. 108

Orchard Application

Volunteer at a Garden or Orchard

Are you ready to volunteer at a Seed St. Louis garden? Volunteering with Seed St. Louis is a great hands-on way for individuals and groups to support their community.

Learn More

Want to Learn with Us?

Seed St. Louis hosts over 40 free virtual classes throughout the year. Our staff provides a wide variety of classes for all gardening enthusiasts.

Learn More