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Los Angeles County
University of California
Los Angeles County

Common Ground Garden Program

In 1976, Congress appropriated $1.5 million to start Cooperative Extension Urban Garden programs in America's largest cities. In addition to Los Angeles, programs in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit and Houston were initially funded. Within the next several years, additional cities were added, and the program ultimately included 23 cities, with only the largest city included in any state.

The goal of the Urban Garden Program was to help low-income residents grow their own food in community and backyard gardens. Over time, USDA funding allocations changed, and many of these programs faded away. The Los Angeles program operated for well over three decades, becoming one of the longest-lived programs.

Known locally as the Common Ground Garden Program, Los Angeles' Urban Garden Program thrived for many years under the auspices of UC Cooperative Extension and powered by our UC Master Gardener volunteers. Program staff and Master Gardener volunteers helped to start many community and school gardens over the years. Many still exist today. However, Urban Garden Program funding has been discontinued, and the Common Ground Garden Program is inactive.

Fortunately, the Master Gardener Program is thriving! UC Cooperative Extension in Los Angeles County continues to offer the same great services to local communities through its UC Master Gardener Program. The program offers resources for Los Angeles County residents who want to garden more sustainably. Helping Los Angeles residents grow their own fresh fruits and vegetables will continue to be a strong focus.

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